DEI and AI: Revolutionizing Inclusion in America

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Ten Strategies For Holding Difficult Conversations About Diversity

Depending on who you ask, artificial intelligence (AI) will either save us from ourselves or take over the world, Terminator-style. It’s dramatic to assume the T-1000 is coming for us, but the technology is making a noticeable impact on American business. 

It automates time-consuming tasks, makes messaging more personable, and uncovers trends hidden by imperfect human perceptions. Intuitive leaders also recognize the benefits AI brings to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

From making hiring more diverse and inclusive to exposing the hidden biases within business systems, AI has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against microaggressions, harassment, and discrimination. 


Understanding AI’s Role in DEI

Artificial intelligence isn’t just ChatGPT. It offers many promises to business leaders across organizations, from human resources and recruitment to finance and budgeting. Yet many of these same leaders are asking what AI’s role is in diversity, equity, and inclusion and how this technology will bring positive change.

For instance, HR departments use AI systems to help them sort, filter, and rank resumes. Deploying AI for candidate selection helps reduce biases by using algorithms that only evaluate skills and experience, not demographic information. 

Some organizations are also using AI to help them identify potential bias by combing through historical data and extracting elusive trends. Specifically, these trends can point toward inequities in job descriptions, hiring selection, pay disparities, or even bias toward certain customer bases. 

Select AI-enhanced ATS platforms can schedule initial interviews, facilitate video evaluations, and conduct background checks. Automating these tasks saves time for high-volume companies or those with limited resources while also removing the unconscious biases present in humans. 

Additionally, AI is beneficial for making sense of employee experience/satisfaction reports. These tools can quantify qualitative statements, making it possible to interpret and visualize this type of data. Acting from a data-based position allows you to make adjustments where needed, ultimately improving retention.   

AI could meaningfully change your workplace culture by eliminating hiring biases, closing wage gaps, and improving organizational diversity. Yet only 35-45% of businesses take advantage of AI in their hiring process, leaving room for significant improvement.  


Spotlight on American Companies Leading with DEI and AI

As we mentioned, only about 45% of all businesses use AI for hiring. When looking at Fortune 500 organizations, that number rises significantly, with nearly 73% of companies on that list investing in AI tools. 

As with any new business-changing development, some companies pave the way for others to follow. Understandably, the tech industry deploys AI at higher rates and with more regularity in the integration of business systems. 

For example, Google deploys AI for its recruitment process and is also developing the technology to help underserved communities. Google’s AI currently helps pregnant women in Kenya with integrated health apps that are saving lives.  

The AI technology also graces Google’s Project Relate, which transcribes, repeats, and assists with non-standard speech. This AI uses real-time speech input to bridge the communicative gaps and help people feel a greater sense of belonging through better understanding. 

Another cornerstone organization paving the way for AI to benefit DEI is IBM. IBM’s advanced computing laboratories are responsible for a massive portion of machine learning and generative AI development. 

IBM is tackling diversity and inclusion challenges in artificial intelligence and machine learning head-on. That means they’re dedicating resources to verifying input data sets are free from bias and leveraging social DEI theories to create more equitable and inclusive environments.

Other tech giants, like Microsoft and Amazon, also pioneered the use of AI models for various business functions. From product ideation to inclusive hiring, companies are finding creative ways to use AI to benefit diverse communities and make the world more equitable.


Benefits of Integrating AI in DEI Strategies

Every leader wants to find ways to be more efficient. There is never enough time for everything on the to-do list. AI’s automation features offer that efficiency, making it an appealing solution for those tasks that never seem to get done. 

There are other benefits to adding AI to your DEI strategy, including:

  • A more diverse workforce through unbiased candidate sourcing and selection
  • More time to build connections with candidates and employees
  • More effective communication and higher degrees of understanding through real-time translation
  • Expanded talent pools to include diverse talent
  • Automated assignment and delivery of DEI training programs
  • Instantly scale DEI initiatives across your organization
  • Unbiased data processing for enhanced decision-making

As artificial intelligence continues to grow, additional benefits will unfold as a result. The technology is still relatively new, and experts are still working out the kinks.


Challenges and Ethical Considerations

Although AI promises a lot, ethical considerations and inherent challenges still stand in the way of widespread adoption. As Mercer reported, only 33% of respondents see positive changes in the wake of AI’s introduction, and there is evidence to suggest more groundwork is necessary before AI can have practical application. 

Employee perception isn’t the only roadblock. Others include:

  • Bias in input data – Biases in input data lead to biases in AI outputs, including biased hiring practices, faulty facial recognition, and flawed algorithms. Even corrective measures can produce biased results, as evidenced by Google’s Gemini debacle
  • Data security concerns – AI’s reliance on raw data can give unauthorized individuals or organizations unwanted access to private information. These complex systems can also lead to vulnerabilities or invite cyberattacks
  • Lack of digital access – Companies and individuals with the capital to access AI-enabled tools will invest early, potentially widening the economic disadvantages to underrepresented groups. AI also demands more power and computing resources, making adopting even more difficult
  • Lack of diversity in training AI models – This significantly impacts their accuracy and fairness, reflecting biases that can disadvantage diverse communities. To ensure AI technologies serve all segments of society equitably, it is crucial to incorporate a broad spectrum of human experiences and data into AI development. This approach not only enhances model reliability but also aligns AI outcomes with our broader human values of fairness and inclusivity.

In addition to these challenges, many employees are fearful that AI will replace them in the long term, leading to internal resistance. Despite these difficulties, experts are confident that responsible AI is inevitable.   


Future Trends: DEI, AI, and Beyond

We’re living in the future of work, as many of the prophecized technologies are making their debut. Artificial intelligence is only one of those advancements, but we’re just now getting a taste of what it can bring.

AI holds significant potential to impact DEI in the future, both positively and negatively. If leveraged with a focus on inclusive data and diverse development teams, AI can enhance decision-making and reduce biases across various sectors. However, without careful consideration and mitigation of built-in biases, AI risks perpetuating and even amplifying existing disparities, making it crucial for developers and policymakers to prioritize fairness and equity in AI design and implementation.

If current trends are to go off of, then we could see some of the following:

  • Personalized and data-driven DEI initiatives
  • Real-time AI alerts for inclusive language reminders
  • AI in DEI training, learning, and development
  • Fine-tuning regional DEI practices for globalized organizations
  • Enhanced remote and hybrid working conditions
  • Further mitigation of text-based microaggressions and discrimination

Being a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion doesn’t require any fancy computers or technology. It needs inclusive leaders who commit to changing company culture to be more diverse and equitable. Enroll in a certified diversity coach program through Coach Diversity Institute and become that inclusive leader today! 


Enhance Your DEI Strategy with AI: Partner with Coach Diversity Institute

Artificial intelligence doesn’t have to be scary. It can help HR officers, management consultants, and social workers manage greater workloads without sacrificing quality, mental health, or a human touch. 

AI is improving DEI efforts by automating tasks that become bogged down with unconscious biases and favoritism. Companies are using AI in underserved communities to improve the quality of life for millions. However, new tools and technology can only do so much. 

Developing an inclusive culture that invites people from diverse backgrounds requires human intervention. That human touch is why Coach Diversity Institute hosts training courses and educational material designed to empower humans to make work cultures more inviting for everyone. Get in touch today to plan your next diversity move!