Exploring the Intersection of AI and DEI&A – A Webinar Recap

Last week, Berkshire’s Cheryl Boyer and Angelie Seagraves hosted a public webinar exploring how AI c...

Posted by Becca Pipitone, Marketing Comms Specialist on December 11 2023
Becca Pipitone, Marketing Comms Specialist

Last week, Berkshire’s Cheryl Boyer and Angelie Seagraves hosted a public webinar exploring how AI could impact DEI&A in the workplace.  

Here’s a brief recap of what they had to say about it: 

AI is an undeniably powerful tool, and it is evolving and growing more capable by the day. It powers/informs things that we use every day – from online chatbots to smartphones and more – but it can also be put to work in the HR and DEI&A space. And that has raised some concerns. 

In fact, leaders from Resolution Economics and Berkshire helped produce a report outlining some of those concerns earlier this year. 

Because AI operates by identifying patterns in large data sets, AI outputs can be messy and inaccurate – even harmful and discriminatory – when fed inaccurate or incomplete information on the front end. This is especially concerning when we’re talking about how AI is being used to influence decisions around screening, hiring, assessing performance, and recruiting in HR.  

But the good news is, there’s also potential for AI to be a force for good. 

In last week’s webinar, Cheryl and Angelie explored how AI could expedite processes, free up time for humans to focus on more nuanced work, and even help to minimize unconscious bias – and human bias at-large – in key HR processes.  

Of course, our presenters emphasized the vital importance of managing this technology deliberately and with caution.  

“AI is only as good as the humans that guide it,” Cheryl explained. “If we want to use it to improve diversity in HR processes, we have to be extremely careful about how we are using it.” 

Their tips for minimizing the risks and harms associated with AI in HR processes can be summed up in the following bullet points: 

  • Understand your Goals: Review the specific areas in which AI can support your HR processes. This will ensure that you’re aware of your expectations and how you are looking to utilize AI. This understanding will also guide you in your selection of the appropriate AI tools.and the
  • Utilize AI tools consistently: Make AI decision-making processes transparent, understandable and auditable. Be aware of what your workforce data tells you and use that information to assess trends and gaps. Frame out risk monitoring processes.
  • Bias Training: All individuals involved in the use of AI tools should be trained in how to analyze AI software. Are there checks that demonstrate unfair language for certain demographics that should be reviewed? Stakeholders should be aware of laws and regulations to ensure that the systems are used ethically.
  • Data Analysis: It’s important to have a firm understanding of where you currently stand with DEI. To what extent are minorities represented at your company? This shouldn’t be an anecdotal analysis; you need the data to truly understand your company’s goals and challenges in the DEI space. And this understanding can help inform how you design your AI processes.
  • Privacy: Enable a safe process that not only removes biases but ensures personnel records are protected. Involve stakeholders to review the safety and involvement of data usage.

For those of you who missed the webinar and are interested in learning more, it is available to watch on-demand. 

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