Why AI Needs AI: Authentic Inclusion

woman holding a tablet with globe spinning on top

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have traditionally been associated with cultural practices within organizations. The discussion and promotion of DEI have tended to stay within HR—however, the rapid evolution of technology, such as AI, is transforming DEI into a core technology topic. As we witness the proliferation of AI applications to various facets of life and work, it becomes apparent that these technologies should not perpetuate existing biases or inadvertently exclude certain communities. We have to recognize the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive ecosystem in AI development, ensuring that the benefits of AI are accessible to all and that no one is left behind. 

Five years ago, I wrote about this topic in my book Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation and shared my perspective on technology’s intersection with DEI. 

I discussed the fact that since technology underpins every aspect of our lives, leveraging it becomes pivotal to delivering inclusion in a meaningful and impactful way.

From remote work to personalized education, healthcare, and beyond, technology must be designed to serve as the bridge that connects not just some but all of us.  In the area of artificial intelligence, we have to understand that as technology gets more human, humans have to get more human.  The shift in focus towards technology accessibility and digital inclusion as catalysts for authentic inclusion is a “must do,” not a “nice to have” imperative.  

Historically, investment in digital accessibility has been categorized as an area of legal compliance and “let’s meet the minimum” for “those people with disabilities.”  While a standalone argument can be made that 1.3 billion people with disabilities worldwide with almost half a trillion dollars of disposable income constitute a great business opportunity, it is not just for people with disabilities: it has a universal impact because digital accessibility if implemented with a transformational strategy in mind, is about extreme personalization.

Each person, whether a customer, employee, or partner, can have a meaningful and enjoyable digital experience. It is about putting the human first in the technology infrastructure, solution thinking, design, and development. Since it is a technology strategy based on recognizing and respecting individual differences in ability, its implementation can have the deepest impact on people and businesses. As such, digital accessibility can and should become a rallying point where communities for HR, IT, and all lines of business come together proactively, collaboratively, and holistically to address the tremendous impact digital transformation is having on the future of the workplace and marketplace.

If you are interested in learning more about how the intersection of DEI and technology is not just a convergence of two concepts — that there can be an implementation framework for a more inclusive and innovative workplace and marketplace, read my publication with the United Nations International Labor Organization – “Leave No One Offline: A Primer on Engaging Your Company on Digital Accessibility”.


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