Tech Has a Diversity Problem – Let’s Talk About It

February 14, 2019

I’m writing a series on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) because tech has a diversity problem.

In 2015, Google Photo’s algorithms consistently mislabeled Black people as gorillas. Their solution as of 2018 was to censor the words gorilla and chimpanzee in their data set.

In 2015, Intel committed to equal representation of women and minorities by 2020. They achieved their goal in 2018. The greater DC area tech scene — which claims some of the nations best cybersecurity firms and largest Department of Defense contracts — has a 17%  Black workforce in its technical roles. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley can’t seem to top a 3% share for Black people in tech.

In 2016, ProPublica wrote an expose on biased machine learning algorithms used to set bail,  sentence lengths, and parole terms in the criminal justice system.

In 2017, women held only 26% of computing jobs in the United States and were systematically under-compensated within some of the largest companies in tech.