The motto of our workshop at Brussels’ Tech Summit was ‘Better technology through diversity’.
Our approach was interactive and inclusive, and we received some really interesting feedback from the audience which comprised, as we happily registered, 35% male participants.
We explored aspects of diversity and equality within the ‘bubbles’ of Brussels and Silicon Valley and jointly laughed in surprise and as we uncovered our own mental bias through a series of thought experiments.
Tasked with ‘choosing a neighbor to ask for milk’ for a hypothetical situation where you have run out of it, a woman explained that she would of course go to whoever was a female - because the female would be the ones sort of ‘in charge of the milk’. I have to think of my interview with Marta Gaia Zanchi when she talks about male empowerment in the household. To all the men, if you are reading this, please vow below that you will take the freedom to share a beverage out of your fridge, we endorse you no matter who made the purchase ;)
Our conversation later strove the outlook of ‘Citizen AI’, as also discussed an evening before the workshop by Accenture's Yves Bernaert as part of their Technology Vision 2018 trends. Should robots and AI be included in the diversity discussion? 71% of the audience said yes. And 57% voted that a fridge must be treated differently than a robot dog. Signals of an expanding moral circle.
I took a moment for me to digest, however, that no one in the audience possesses an Alexa or other smart home speaker. These things are so common here in the US, every fifth household has one already (I am personally holding back on it, still. I do have some creepy and funny stories to share about encounters, I’ll share if you are interested.)
See below which associations our audience had with 'dimensions of diversity'.
On the question of ‘What can the individual or companies do to overcome bias and increase diversity and inclusion?’ we got some great suggestions from the audience as well. Here is a selection:
Use gender-neutral language.
Make a business case for diversity.
“Listen more to the sisters of ‘Here She Is’.” - we certainly liked this one.
Share the spotlight with minorities.
Acknowledge your own bias.
Create more robot girls.
Setting and following the Global Goals.
If you have something to add to that list, please share below! We hope to see you at another ‘Here She Is’ live event soon.