Diversity in Internet Industry-It matters!
The invention of the internet began in the 1960s as a mechanism for government researchers to exchange information, particularly during the Cold War. However, research suggests that the Transfer Control Protocol, a new communication protocol created to create a standard method for multiple computer networks to connect, was founded in 1983 and marked the official beginning of the internet. Since then, the internet has grown significantly in many areas of the world due to the increase in highly skilled persons. Lack of diversity in the tech industry have negatively affected the development of internet due to increased biased AI systems, segregation of qualified marginalized engineers, lack of enough tech workers and poor leadership.
The Extent to which Lack of Diversity has influenced the Development of the Internet
The lack of diversity in the tech industries negatively impacts development of internet as it lead to biased AI systems. This is supported by an article published by the AI Now Institute, which states that the area of artificial intelligence, is predominately made up of men and white people which leads to a repeat or maintain historical biases and power disparities (Krentz, 2019). As a result of these diverse disparities, tech corporations have created many prejudiced AI systems, such as Amazon’s technology that fails to distinguish individuals with darker complexions, chatbots that utilize hate speech, and derogatory classifications of minorities by picture recognition services (Paul, 2019). However, the National Science Board, supports the notion that just 10% of AI academics are women and that more than 80% of them are men (Paul, 2019). Additionally, compared to 4% at Microsoft and Facebook, just 2.5% of Google’s employees are black. It has also been proven that none of these businesses had any knowledge of the transgender personnel.
Second, the lack of diversity in the tech industry has prevented the tech industries from assuming greater leadership, which has slowed the growth of the internet (Thompson, 2021). This is supported by an article published by the USA Today, which reveals that most tech companies have been hesitant to hire black and Hispanic students studying computer science and engineering (Weise, 2014). As a result, they are unable to put their advanced knowledge to use, which is bad for the development of the internet. However, a recent poll by Fortune on the top nine tech firms in Silicon Valley found that, on average, women make up approximately one-third of the workforce. In these firms, just 29% of women held leadership roles on average, and this disparity grew as the organizational hierarchy ascended (Marcus, 2016). As a result, fewer women hold prominent positions, which compromises systems that only recognize specific genders and reduces the contribution of women to the development of the internet.
Third, the lack of diversity has caused shortage of workers in the computing industry which has slowed the development of internet. James Slaby a head of cyber protection at the cyber security company Acronis, supports this by stating that there are shortages of cyber security specialists due to a lack of diversity (Barron & Barron, 2019). He contends that if experts from various groups are used, specifically tailored malware attacks can be effectively managed. This is because cyber security criminals mostly use the traits such as gender, race, religion, sexual preference, or ethnicity to design phishing emails. As a result, having a diverse range of specialists from all groups would make it simpler to design plans and countermeasures (Sung & Choi, 2019). Diverse opinions and backgrounds also act as a better deterrent to a variety of social engineering assaults. This is because a varied team is more likely to defeat various psychological techniques since it allows them to think like their opponent, which is a significant advantage.
Besides, lack of diversity in the tech sector shrinks the pool of highly qualified female engineers in mid-career and leadership positions (Barron & Barron, 2019). This is supported by most studies which indicate that working conditions are hostile for persons or women of color who work in the technology sector. According to a Harvard Business Review poll, more than half of diverse groups that work in the IT sector, including LGBTQ, women, Hispanic, Latino, and Black populations, face bias in their daily job activities. According to the Center for Talent Innovation, gender prejudice causes more than 52% of women to abandon their occupations. According to McKinsey & Company research, the number of women quitting their professions in the computer industry has declined over the last 25 years (Krentz, 2019). The vast majority of individuals resigning have claimed that they are leaving due to antagonistic macho attitudes that see them as underdogs in the industry.
How Does Lack Diversity Harm Societies and Individuals
The lack of diversity in the tech industry has negatively affected society and people in various ways. First, it has contributed to the spread of untrue preconceptions, such as the pipeline issue, which claims that the lack of women in the IT sector results from few girls doing well in math and science (Snyder, 2014). An examination of current data refutes this idea, revealing that the proportion of high school students pursuing STEM electives is comparable across boys and girls, implying that females are equally qualified as boys (Marcus, 2016). Furthermore, it was discovered that 50% of computer science students at Stanford and Berkeley were female (Barron & Barron, 2019). As a consequence, they now have the same chance as men to work in technology enterprises. However, because these high-tech firms lack diversity, they continue to adhere to these beliefs, which disadvantages women by denying them roles in AI or computer research.
Figure 5: Data from TECH, Photograph: Katie Malone/CIO Dive
Second, a lack of diversity has led tech companies to believe that minorities like Hispanics, Latinos, and Blacks lack the qualifications to work in AI and computer research (Malone, 2021). These claims are supported by the USA Today, which reveals that the high-tech companies indicate that they do not have a qualified pool of applicants from minority groups, but their claims are unsupported by any evidence (Weise, 2014). Therefore, a lack of diversity and interest in hiring members of these groups by these companies hurts marginalized societies by preventing them from using their knowledge and talents to the advancement of the internet.
Third, minority groups have suffered considerably as a result of a lack of diversity in the computing sector, since it frustrates and hurts their career aspirations. This is illustrated by the large number of women who have quit their employment in the computer sector only a few years after starting (Marcus, 2016). Urvashi Tyagi, vice president of engineering at American Express, noted a high number of female students enrolled in computer science and engineering courses at institutions (Barron & Barron, 2019). However, he points out that because the pipeline assumes women are poor in math and science, they typically face employment discrimination, forcing them to abandon their jobs.
In conclusion, the internet has grown significantly worldwide since the 1960s. However, lack of diversity in the tech industries have negatively affected the development of internet due to increased biased AI systems, lack of enough tech workers and effective leadership. The diversity disaster has led to the creation of AI systems that can identify specific racial, ethnic, and gender groups. Due to a scarcity of cybersecurity personnel, it has also made it simpler for cybercrime to grow. In many respects, the lack of diversity in the IT sector has harmed individuals and society. False assumptions about various ethnic and gender categories have impeded some of these groups from finding employment in the technology sector. On the other side, the issues they face at work and the harsh treatment they receive from their coworkers have harmed many people’s career prospects. As a result, in order to combat this monster, IT companies must ensure that more diverse people are placed in senior roles. This is because more skilled computer technologists from various groups will be produced, which will assist not only them individually but also other people, communities, and society.
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