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Why, Yes — Tech Can Be Inclusive. Just Ask This Bot


My name is Nguyen Pham, and my pronouns are he/him/his, and I am a single gay man living in San Francisco Over the past few years, workplace harassment has made its way into conversation, news headlines, and more

And when it's reported, the results aren't usually very good But diversity, inclusion and belonging are crucial business issues Period I am fortunate enough to work in a primarily female-dominated space While the company is a for-profit company, we're also values-driven, so we will actually turn down work that doesn't quite align with the values of the company

I've worked in places before where there were prescribed norms both socially and also expressively It could be said that many diversity, inclusion and belonging issues can be addressed and improved upon, but one that's top of mind at Spot, the company behind an AI tool for anonymously reporting workplace harassment and discrimination, is the underreporting of such incidents My first job that I had was definitely a scenario where you know, I was harassed every day

And so I started to kind of realize that my experience wasn't exceptional, it was just the norm, and that this is maybe a pervasive problem in most industries Companies need to start truly internalizing and institutionalizing these systems and mechanisms for social equity and equality and inclusion But is AI really the answer? Well, it's the anonymity piece that seems to make something like reporting harassment through a bot less intimidating And a glaring example of what can make technology helpful in revamping how workplaces approach these issues You know, the other thing I want to dig into is a point you made about how this seems to be especially pervasive in tech, you know? And it's interesting that you are building technology here to solve some of the problems that perhaps are caused by it

I believethat artificial intelligence is at the point where we can use it for very targeted and specific things So the idea with Spot is that we remove humans from the parts of the process where we as humans are the biggest liability

But in the meantime, what can humans do proactively? It starts with the simple outreach, the simple act of asking someone like me, "What would make you feel more welcome here?" There's like very clear research on what works and what doesn't when it comes to this problem, and so there are very clear solutions Why not build the thing that everyone says contains all of the pieces that would actually solve this problem, since we know what those pieces are It's more than just talking the talk It's truly living this narrative that we are truly equal, no matter how you were born or where you were born

Source: Youtube

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