GesellschaftBeena Ammanath

Beena Ammanath

Global Deloitte AI Institute leader and Humans For AI founder 

The steady maturation of AI and machine learning is impacting every business and sector. The full scope of AI’s value is becoming clear, and the promised returns are enormous. What is also becoming clear is a dual challenge: for AI to reach its full potential, it must be developed by a rich diversity of people; and applying AI throughout the enterprise requires a larger AI-ready workforce than what is currently available.

The solutions to these challenges are in classrooms. Today’s students are tomorrow’s generation of engineers, data scientists, and business professionals. Where attention and strategic investment can deliver outsized return for AI is in underprivileged, under-resourced communities—where a scarcity of economic opportunity, tech literacy, and fundamental needs like food and healthcare coalesce to inhibit young people from imagining a future in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Many companies have corporate social responsibility programs and some provide charitable giving initiatives and student job fairs. Too often, these are discrete, “checkbox” efforts that can have a limited impact. Truly advancing DEI in AI specifically takes longer-term investment and partnerships that unlock a game-changing value chain. Cultivating exposure and interest in AI leads to students pursuing STEM learning in middle and high school and then eventually at the college level. This creates a pipeline of educated, skilled talent that can develop AI solutions and applications that reflect a diversity of lived experiences. That yields more effective and trustworthy AI, driving better outcomes and organizational performance that impacts business success.

From the classroom to the boardroom, AI can be the catalyst for promoting inclusive economic prosperity, the bridge between gaps in education, and the vehicle for increasing access to employment opportunities. The evident question is how?

1. Starting Young and Instilling Interest in STEM
The effort to funnel more bright minds into STEM-focused higher education begins in K-12 learning. Research reveals that a predictor of a student majoring in a STEM subject in college is whether they form an intention to do so while in high school. What is more, STEM-related curricular and extracurricular experiences increase STEM interest and in turn raise the likelihood a student will pursue a STEM major in college.

2. Creating Opportunities for Higher Education Students
In colleges and universities, the challenge for encouraging STEM majors is somewhat different. Particularly in AI and analytics, advances and innovations occur at such a rapid pace that schools can be challenged to keep the curriculum relevant and up to date.

3. Moving from Inspiration to Action
Teaching, mentoring, and providing access to experiences like internships forges a relationship with the next generation of professionals, which is a powerful lever when recruiting the best and brightest minds from under-tapped communities. It is a strategic decision to fund, support, and champion DEI in education and throughout the workforce. That strategy must be shaped by the reality that true, enduring diversity takes time.

From exposing young students to AI subject matter to foster academic interest to providing real world opportunities for students in higher education, building the talent pipeline is inherently collaborative. It takes businesses, schools, and community groups working together to identify a community’s specific needs, address them with action and investment, and then track the data to measure the results over time.

We can make the greatest societal impact in DEI when we use professional skills and resources to improve educational outcomes and access to opportunities. AI is a vehicle to turn this from aspiration to reality. This is an era of humans working with intelligent machines, and succeeding in and advancing the technology demands a diversity of voices. AI’s own potential depends on this, and so too does business growth and prosperity.

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human ist das Leitmedium für strategische Entscheider:innen und alle, die mit KI arbeiten und leben werden. Wir stellen den Menschen in den Mittelpunkt. Für eine lebenswerte Zukunft aller.

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