3 Ways to Keep Your Workplace Inclusive in the AI Age
The rapid growth and widespread adoption of AI technologies in mainstream society is transforming our world at an unrecognizable, unprecedented pace. According to Forbes, the AI market is projected to reach $407 billion by 2027, experiencing exceptional growth from its estimated $86.9 billion revenue in 2022.
This trend is also making significant strides in the workforce. AI is now being used for a wide array of tasks — from everyday activities such as email responses to more advanced functions like crafting books or generating sales proposals. As AI increasingly reshapes our ways of thinking, working and engaging with technology on a global scale, it is crucial for inclusive leaders to assess the equitable implications of such potent innovations carefully. Here are three things every inclusive leader must do.
Update Your Workforce Policies
You need to create an internal point of view on AI and update — or create — your workplace policies on AI use. Now is the time to begin conversations with your employees and leaders about how AI is already being or should be used within your organization. Don’t ignore AI usage within your organization.
Once you are aligned on the company’s stance, make sure to document the approach you plan to take and to train all employees on best practices. Given the power of AI tools, it’s important that if you allow AI tools to be used within your company, everyone is trained appropriately on their use. If you leave it to chance, employee usage will vary widely and over time, employees using AI versus those who don’t may see significant disparities in performance.
How do you decide what’s appropriate AI use? It depends on your culture, overall business model, and potential workforce adoption. Some companies, like Coca-Cola and Bain, are embracing AI technology, while others, like Samsung, are banning AI use company-wide. Organizations must balance the risk of potential increases in productivity and efficiency against valid concerns related to security and widespread misinformation.
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AI Does Not Replace Critical Thinking
AI tools have their place, but they should supplement — never replace — critical thinking and inclusive reasoning. More than 43% of businesses are concerned with technology dependence on tools like artificial intelligence. As powerful as it is, AI is still in its infancy. Currently, lots of information provided by specific tools is not sourced or evidence-based — and in some cases — the responses generated via AI are dead wrong. Cognitive biases are still rampant in the development of the tools, and at times, AI-generation is not nuanced enough to account for various differences. This could have unintended consequences within your internal processes.
Five years ago, for example, Amazon scrapped an AI recruiting tool when they discovered it was incorporating and adding to gender bias due to the historical dominance of men in tech. Because generative AI is based on patterns and previous information, old biases will creep in — and vigilance is vital. Still, leveraged properly, AI has the potential to help take bias out of the recruiting process.
You Need Inclusive AI Prompts
One new skill that everyone using artificial intelligence will need to develop is how to create useful of AI prompts. Users’ ability to write an effective, inclusive AI prompt will be the differentiator for individuals who can maximize usage of this technology.
Inclusive AI prompts should consider how biases can impact prompts (which in turn can impact AI output negatively), use gender-neutral language in content creation and create habits to connect with colleagues of different identities, perspectives and lived experiences to round out thinking. By designing prompts that are sensitive to these aspects, employees can avoid reinforcing harmful stereotypes or perpetuating biases present in the data.
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About the Author
Christie Lindor is the CEO of Tessi Consulting, a Certified B Corporation focused on helping leaders that want to create diverse, high performing and inclusive cultures, but do not know where to start. Prior to Tessi, Christie was a seasoned management consultant advising Fortune 500 clients at some of the world’s top firms such as IBM, Deloitte and EY. Connect with Christie Lindor: