The Diversity Problem in Technology with Dr. JT Kostman


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Dr. JT Kostman is a data scientist, mathematician, and psychologist. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in applied artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. JT has hunted terrorists for the U.S. intelligence agencies, tracked criminal networks for the FBI, advised the Department of Defense on analytic strategies and led social media analysis for the 2012 Obama campaign. In the corporate sector, he served as Chief Data Officer and member of the Executive Committee for Time Inc. and as Chief Data Scientist for Samsung. Prior to attending graduate school, JT served as a paramedic, police officer, deep-sea rescue driver and team leader of a U.S. Army Special Forces scout/sniper reconnaissance team. JT received a PhD in psychology from City University of New York an MS in psychology from Baruch College and did post-doctoral research on nonlinear Dynamical Systems Theory at Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI)

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Here’s the timestamps for the episode: 

(00:00) – Introduction

(01:47) – The trends in the consumer space keep being 5G, virtual reality and quantum computing.

(02:23) –  Diversity is not just needed, but essential to our success. Most industries do little to truly accommodate,welcome, incentivize and attract a more diverse and more heterogeneous population into tech.

(04:35) – Minorities portrayed in the media are editorial selections. The seats of power,  keep being in hands of white males.

(05:36) – We need to think beyond traditional concerns of gender, of ethnicity. We need to start talking about neurodiversity. We need to start talking about a difference of perspective. 

(06:26) – Fast growing demographics are not wholly represented within technology.

(08:27) – Cognitive diversity needs to be transferred over into AI startups and AI applications. 

(09:57) – Diversity of thinking has really contributed to each of the organizations. And that’s what we need need to be able to better communicate to the rest of the field.

(211:57) –  Brain power and diversity of cognitive thinking is it’s going to start with humans, training humans in essence, to think diversity-first.

(12:35) – Artificial intelligence and machine learning has, in its current incarnation, been coded by white men “teaching the machines to do what white men do”.

(15:10) – The things that make us quintessentially human; Empathy, caring, wisdom, perspective, equanimity, patience. Let machines do what machines do, and let us be left to be human.

(16:27) – The lost generation 2.0.

(19:09) – Multiculturalism and neurodiversity.

(20:12) – HR teams do not assess technical fit, but cultural fit. People who have a diverse perspective are not going to fit into that common mold.

(24:52) – The Dunning Kruger effect and the skills assessed by the Industry. 

(26:41) – Symbiotech means people and the machines partnering most effectively, how in an almost transhumanist perspective of how do we work symbiotically with the machines so that both end up being able to do better.

(27:28) – The Great Tech Debate, a dialogue with all the great thinkers, citizenry, consumers, whose voices will be included in these conversations. 

(28:43) – We should talk about technology. The implications, applications, ramifications, data privacy, the petroleum problem, the economic implications of artificial intelligence and the impact that will have on jobs.

(30:05) – We need to reclaim the ability to actually hear other perspectives, other attitudes, other beliefs.

(32:01) – AI is not going to run a mocking and kill us all. We need to stop worrying about silly things and take that same energy and worry about climate change, how joblessness is already impacting such a large segment of the population, the economic implications of artificial intelligence.

(32:22) – We need to democratize talent more. That leaves us to worry about things like immigration and writing.

(35:58) – We have to stop abrogating our responsibility to the leaders of the tech companies or to the politicians.

(37:01) –Every citizen needs to know how to code. Technology is going to change the world and every aspect of it. “Edutainment”, something that teaches you and entertains you.