As tech leaders rally against President Donald Trump's immigration executive order, a new report released Wednesday by the nonprofit Open Mic shows there is a striking lack of diversity in the tech industry. The low diversity in the tech industry undermines financial performance, the report Breaking the Mold: Investing in Racial Diversity in Tech also found. Open MIC, which advocates for a more vibrant and diverse media, found African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are underrepresented in the tech industry by 16 to 18 percentage points compared to the overall U.S. workforce. The nonprofit released a chart breaking down racial diversity of the workforce in major tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Non-white individuals are widely excluded from executive level positions, are less likely to get promoted and are paid less than their white counterparts, the report shows.
Google released its annual workforce diversity report Thursday, marking only modest changes from last year. The company remains mostly white and male. But the report offers a better view of what the workforce looks like as the company revealed its gender breakdown across ethnicities for the first time. Overall, Google's global workforce is 69.1 percent male and 30.9 percent female, virtually unchanged from 2017. In its breakdown on race and ethnicity, which covers only U.S. employees, 2.5 percent of Googlers are black/African American, up from 2.4 percent in 2017.
The ACLU and other groups urged Amazon to halt selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement departments. Lending tools charge higher interest rates to Hispanics and African Americans. Job hunting tools favor men. Negative emotions are more likely to be assigned to black men's faces than white men. Computer vision systems for self-driving cars have a harder time spotting pedestrians with darker skin tones.
The workforce that develops artificial intelligence products is in "a diversity crisis," says a new report. As a result, algorithms behind the technology are usually biased themselves. According to Discriminating Systems, a report from NYU's AI Now Institute, the employees of companies building AI solutions are, as in most of the technology sector, largely male and white. At Google, for example, women comprise just 10 percent of the AI research staff while the company's overall workforce is just 2.5 percent black. Facebook and Microsoft don't do much better: 4 percent of their employees are black, the report said.
As the world marks International Women's Day on Thursday, an annual report shows again that Japan lags far behind other countries for women's participation in politics. Japan ranked 158th among 193 countries surveyed by an international organization for representation of women in national parliaments in 2017. But despite a campaign by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to increase the number of women in leadership roles in society, the survey results suggest progress has been limited. "In Japan, the question of women's political leadership was seen more as a hot political discussion point than an action point," noted the report released last week by the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union. At the Diet, only 10.1 percent of Lower House seats and 20.7 percent of Upper House seats were filled by female lawmakers according to the report called "Women in parliament in 2017."