Guest Post: Diversity is Tech by Kaia N. Shivers (@guichigirl), Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University Media Studies
Diversity in tech is not a debate or even a quandary. Diversity is tech. In order for tech to exist and thrive, it must be used, tweaked, approved then distributed by the people―all people. Technology is the fundamental force that pushes societies to connect while growing and aiming to operate in its fullest potential.
From sophisticated cotton gins to holographic keyboards, technology is an extension of us―all of us. Unfortunately, technology has been imagined as some abstract, barely attainable resource that is born out the labs of geeky white and Asian kids who are funded by greedy, middle-aged, uber-wealthy capitalists.
Though diversity is tech, it is essential to give naysayers an understanding of not only why diversity matters in tech, but why tech cannot subsist without diversity.
Diverse perspectives cultivate more effective and efficient technology. One worldview did not create the world and will not cure it of its issues. Technology that reaches more people and can be applied from an angle that understands the complexities of individuality has a better and quicker chance of being embedded and enhanced by the population it serves.
Recognizing diversity in tech provides a platform for needed leadership and innovative ideas to bring solutions to age-old problems that much of these crusty bureaucrats cannot wrap their heads around.
Listening and acknowledging the diversity in consumers enhances the tech product. The different ways of life generate a multiplicity of ways in engaging and implementing technology. What a wonderful world it would be if companies really paid attention to its diverse population of users instead of categorizing populations.
If we were as exclusive about tech 30 years ago, the way we do today, the best tech geniuses that have come from “disenfranchised,” “at-risk,” and “uneducated” backgrounds (eg Steve Jobs) would not stand a chance.
If we continue to be socially and monetarily exclusive in tech like we were 60 years ago, we might just allow another Charles R. Drew to invent a life-changing machine, only to die when they need it the most