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Alternative Market Briefing

Research suggests artificial intelligence could take the bias out of hiring

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Could artificial intelligence (AI) help add diversity to hiring and make industries like tech or finance less homogeneous? New research from Kimberly Houser, Assistant Professor at the Spears Business School at Oklahoma State University, suggests that taking humans out of the hiring process and letting AI make decisions about which candidates to hire could solve the diversity problem.

"One of the things that I started looking into were claims of meritocracy," Houser said in an interview with Opalesque. "Study after study shows that diverse groups of people are just as meritorious and perform just as well, and yet we aren't seeing that diversity show up in terms of who gets hired." Houser's paper focuses specifically on the lack of diversity in technology, but the overall lessons are the same for other male-dominated professions - e.g. finance, law, etc.

In her research, Houser noted that companies do a lot with bias training with the hope that it will lead to more diverse hires. Often companies focus on unconscious bias, in an effort to help executives understand why they might not pick candidates from diverse backgrounds even if they aren't specifically prejudiced against women or minorities. This training can be helpful, but Houser found that it can also have the unintended impact of helping people feel more comfortable about their biases because they start to perceive bias as natural thing everyone needs to be tra......................

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