Arena Analytics launched its external AI Ethics Advisory Board – the first human resource technology firm to do so – on January 12, 2021. Arena’s independent Advisory Board brings together human resources leaders and experts from academia, the technology industry, and ethics. The advisors are focused on developing thoughtful and practical guidance on managing ethical questions as Arena deploys novel technologies into the workplace and the labor market. They also seek to break down the silos between the national spheres that touch questions related to technology and workforce—academic, policy, practitioner, and scientist.
As the market leader in the application of artificial intelligence to workforce challenges, Arena was founded to reduce bias, help organizations optimize their workforce, and match individuals to opportunities where they will thrive. With a recent break-through in its machine learning techniques (leveraging adversarial networks) that significantly reduces algorithmic bias more than was previously possible, the company is looking to deepen its understanding of the ethical risks and opportunities related to its evolving technological capabilities.
“Our labor market practices have – for too long – prevented organizations from assembling the most effective workforces and impeded individuals from moving into the roles where they will be best,” says Arena CEO Michael Rosenbaum. “By deploying technologies that were developed in the intelligence community and other industries, we have been able to reduce bias massively and organize the labor market in a manner that is both more just and more efficient.”
“With the insights, questions, and counsel of this advisory board, we can ensure we are grappling effectively with the numerous ethical and moral questions that inevitably arise from these kinds of leaps in technology,” explains Rosenbaum. “And not only will we then be able to leverage these advancements most appropriately and thoughtfully, but perhaps also we can participate in a national discussion on the ways we think about and manage these technologies as a country and a society.”
Recent studies published in the Harvard Business Review have highlighted the importance of going beyond current approaches to ethical AI. The common tactic of creating high level AI Ethics principles (ex. Google and Microsoft) has little impact: “seeming coalescence around a shared set of abstract values actually obscures widespread misalignment.” Academic approaches fall short as well since they “do not speak to the highly particular, concrete uses of data and AI translating to the absence of clear directives to the developers on the ground and the senior leaders who need to identify and choose among a set of risk mitigation strategies.”
Arena’s board recognizes these potential pitfalls and is, therefore, taking on the more impactful approach of “operationalizing data and AI ethics.”
“Instead of placing a filter on a polluting smokestack, we are aiming to change the inner workings so fundamentally that there no longer will be a metaphorical smokestack to filter,” says Myra Norton, Arena’s President/COO. “With this extraordinary group in regular communication with each other, providing guidance to Arena’s leaders and team members, we believe we can fully integrate ethics into our operations.”
The board is led by John Sumser, the leading analyst of AI in HRTechnology and founder of HRExaminer. “AI in the HR world is a particularly important arena. Tools that evaluate, recommend, and directly impact human beings are different than tools that recommend products or automate processes. A much higher ethical standard is required when the objects of AI are human. Arena is leading the way with this first ever advisory board. This is the very best way to simultaneously improve the quality of product design while keeping an eye on unintended consequences and managing to mitigate bias.”
Board members include:
Kate Bischoff, Attorney and HR Consultant, tHrive, a management-side employment attorney and human resources professional; and a leading authority on harassment, technology in the workplace, and employment law.
Cheryl Boyer, Director, Diversity Services, Berkshire & Associates, solving client’s business issues as they relate to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, evaluating companies’ DEI related metrics and progress; President of the Maryland Association of Affirmative Action Officers (MAAAO), leading the association’s efforts to advance equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
Meredith Broussard, Professor of Data Journalism, NYU and the author of the book Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World; previously a features editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a software developer at the AT&T Bell Labs and MIT Media Lab.
Jill Finlayson, Director, Women in Technology, UC Berkeley, a lifelong advocate for women in the technology sector and equitable workplaces, she utilizes her technical background in conjunction with her ethical perspective to break down barriers to the equal participation, persistence and advancement by women and others with under-included identities in the technology sector.
Anne Hill, Ethics Professor, interfaith minister and Delay Claims Analyst in the construction industry, runs her own music label, has been published in multiple books and articles, and hosts the Dream Talk Radio podcast. She has worked on ethics and accountability systems in spiritual traditions since 1994, and believes that no matter what we do for a living, defining and acting according to our core values is essential for health and success.
Jamar Johnson, Director, Delivery Assurance, HR Digital Technology Strategy, Comcast, responsible for the overall health and integrity of Comcast’s human resources information systems (HRIS); National Lead (Chair) of Comcast’s Black Employee Network (10,000+ members), fostering a culture of inclusion within the workforce.
Katrina Kibben, CEO and founder 3 EarsMedia, a firm dedicated to teaching recruiters to be better communicators and writers. Kibben has also spoken at events around the world and written for Fortune, The Chicago Tribune and many other digital publications.
Michael Krupa, Senior Director, People & Communities, Cisco, leading the global Strategy and Transformation team focused on defining the People & Communities functional strategy, operating model and driving strategy for AI and AI/Ethics. Prior to joining Cisco, he was Partner and CIO at Mercer, for the Talent line of business where he managed a portfolio of revenue generating HR technology solutions and drove a multi-year technology strategy.
Victorio Milian, HR Consultant, photographer, writer, humareso, working with clients to design strategies through which their HR processes effectively support the organization’s objectives. His thoughts on workplace matters have been quoted in digital and other mainstream publications.
Joey Price, CEO Jumpstart HR and host of ‘Business, Life, and Coffee’ Podcast. Price spends much of his time solving HR challenges in the following areas: Workplace Culture, Small Team HR Ops, and HR Tech. He is an advisor to the HRM Department at the Forbes School of Business & Technology. Price is a recent HR Executive Magazine Top 100 HR Tech Influencer, SHRM Top 30 Under 30 award winner, and frequently cited HR and Startup Thought Leader in publications such as Forbes, HR Magazine, Businessweek, Money Magazine, and more.
Tamara M. Rasberry, Owner of Rasberry Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in developing strategies for inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging with a focus on addressing mental health in the workplace. Tamara’s thought leadership on mental health and diversity & inclusion has been sought and shared by multiple mainstream media outlets including Forbes, SHRM HR Magazine, WorkHuman, Ultimate Software and the New York Times.
Richard Rosenow, Sr Manager, Talent Acquisition Analytics, Uber, previous HR/People Analytics roles at Facebook, YMCA, GE, and Citibank. He’s an in-demand blogger, speaker, and connector in the People Analytics space.
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