Inclusion in technologies: what are we talking about?

A recent conference on artificial intelligence, as well as a study conducted by Capgemini reveal that the lack of diversity among computer engineers generates “discriminatory technologies”.

Artificial Intelligence is a 40-year-old man

Does artificial intelligence have a sex and an age? Well yes. She would be male and she would be around 40 years old. Why ? Algorithms, created and trained by humans, inherit the same biases as their designer. And when designers are predominantly forty-year-old men – as is the case among corporate IT teams – the majority of algorithms “think” like forty-year-old men.

This is revealed by the fascinating conference of Alsace Tech on the theme of artificial intelligence, led by Vincent Le Cerf, doctor in artificial intelligence, founder of the company Mategenia (software publishing), known for his collaborations with large companies and for his interventions in engineering schools.
To see the conference in replay

The urgency of inclusion in tech

As Vincent Le Cerf reminds us, algorithms are everywhere: in our social networks, our Internet requests, in our digital tools and connected objects. They do image and voice recognition. They research, sort, analyze data. These tools are the basis of our economy and our daily life. It is therefore urgent that they have maximum openness to the world with maximum objectivity. In fact, there is an urgent need to generate inclusion among the teams that design them.

Consumers don’t have access to the same information by gender and ethnicity – Capgemini

It turns out that the consequences of the lack of inclusion in Tech’ have been quantified as part of a study conducted internationally by Capgemini Research Institute. The study is ititled The key to designing inclusive tech: creating diverse and inclusive tech teams». It is dated July 2021.

We discover there that in health technology markets, for example, 43% of women and consumers from ethnic minority communities do not receive online information from establishments with high levels of service or offering specialized services, unlike consumers male or of non-diverse origin (term used in the study).

Similarly, in finance technologies, 50% of consumers from ethnic minorities received in 2021 an automatic offer of lower credit for certain online products. Only 28% of non-diverse consumers received the same level of proposal. The study speaks ofdiscriminatory technologygenerated by the lack of diversity in the tech world.

Only 1 in 5 employees is a woman in technology and IT teams

And the goals of inclusion are far from being achieved. According to the same Capgemini report, 90% of companies worldwide struggle to implement inclusion and diversity in their technology and IT teams.

The report mentions that the problem will not be resolved in the short term, given the difference in perception between management teams and employees. In fact, 75% of managers surveyed by Capgemini believe that inclusion is head-on in their company, but only 25% of employees in a technology function feel the same way.
In concrete terms, there are currently the following technology teams within companies (global survey):
one in five employees is a woman
– one in six employees comes from an ethnic minority community. 22% of these employees think they have the same chances of progressing as their colleagues from non-diverse backgrounds

Among technology and IT teams, only 16% of women and ethnic minority workers believe they are well represented on their team.
According to Capgemini’s findings, “Organizations that will succeed in (…) [de l’inclusion] for their technology teams will be able to seize the resulting opportunities, both in terms of innovation and increased revenue and enhancement of their brands”.

Sources: for-their-technology-teams/

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