The Rise of The Racist Robots: How Forced Diversity Backfired

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

By Oliver James Pike

HR departments are mind-numbingly petty and periodically useless as the best of times, but when it comes to hiring and firing, they become more of a hindrance than anything else. Why don’t companies interview people using a member of senior management and someone who does the role the applicant is being considered for, instead of drafting in under-experienced busybodies to do the job for them? The answer is of course to enforce unachievable high standards of diversity and inclusion. In pursuit of perfect equality across the race, gender, ability, and sexuality divide HR departments around the world have deployed various burdensome strategies. Fill out a job application in 2020 and be expected to complete a form outlining your background. While we are assured this does not impact your assessment the form shows what HR departments are truly interested in and what the ultimate goal of their other strategies is. They care more about what your skin colour and what goes on in your bedroom than whether you can actually do the job.

A plethora of measures has been adopted to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds navigate the apparently hate-filled and discriminatory world of employment. For example, guaranteed interviews for disabled applicants have been adopted. How is this justified? Parking spaces makes sense, but an interview at a firm? Sure, help people get into the building but leave their CV to get them the appointment. Another example is the STEM conferences designed to encourage women into subjects and fields they are traditionally underrepresented in. Highly beneficial events have become a no-go zone for young men interested in working in STEM to give women a helping hand. Of course, look at how women outperform men in school exams or consider that there are fields dominated by women and you start to wonder whether this assistance is needed or in any way fair.

These measures all go too far to fix a non-existent problem and end up perpetuating the very thing they sought to eliminate. However, HR departments are not content and continue to find new and inventive ways to ensure diversity and inclusion. Having realised that even the virtuous heroes of the HR world could themselves potentially be the perpetrators of undetectable racism, sexism and homophobia, they have deemed it necessary to replace themselves with robots (AI to be more accurate). It has been reported that several companies have ditched the traditional interview in favour of video calls that are analysed by an algorithm to find the best candidate. Not only is this manifestly disrespectful to those applying for the job but the attempt to purge the hiring process of bigotry has massively backfired.

Amazon was forced to ditch its AI interviewing because the algorithm developed a preference for men. Other companies have reported problems whereby darker faces struggle to be picked up by the AI and thus the subtle facial movements used to ascertain amicability end up being missed putting people of colour a distinct disadvantage. Similar concerns have been raised regarding disabled people who’s differing manners of facial and vocal expression were not factored into the creation of the AI. Those who the AI was designed to help ended up suffering because of the HR industry’s sycophantic desire to solve problems that may not even exist. At the end of the day, algorithms develop patterns and unlike humans who are able to see beyond them, AI will discriminate with all compassion of a tapeworm.

Like the previous practices aimed at ensuring maximum diversity this sci-fi attempt to circumvent inherent bias HR departments have inadvertently created a hostile environment. Instead this time it is for the very minorities HR claims to promote. It all goes to show that artificially trying to force diversity, inclusion and equality often does more harm than good (and at great cost). We should instead hire those who do the best job rather than engaging in patronising affirmative action, corrective discriminatory hiring practices and worst of all ridiculous black mirror style “innovations”.