How AI can boost diversity and inclusion and overcome language barriers

By Jess O’Dwyer, below, general manager for Europe, Pocketalk 

In the whirlwind of rapid technological advancements and the sweeping tide of digital transformation in modern workplaces, the recurring concern about job AI causing losses looms large. This fear of new technology is not unfamiliar – it echoes the anxieties witnessed during the industrial revolution as machines started to replace intense human labour.

Yet, amidst these concerns, a compelling argument emerges: AI isn’t actually a threat to the workforce, it’s a limitless source of untapped opportunities awaiting exploration. For many professions, AI promises to augment human capabilities, enabling us to manage larger workloads and enhance job performance, rather than displacing human workers altogether.

The evolution of jobs is a natural process, with some roles inevitably becoming outdated. However, attributing this shift solely to AI oversimplifies the multifaceted reality of change. Instead, AI stands as a catalyst for the emergence of novel employment avenues, fostering individual growth and propelling businesses forward. The key lies in the ability to reskill and adapt, ensuring the workforce remains relevant in the era of AI integration.

Embracing the benefits of AI

At a recent panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Leo Varadkar, the former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), challenged the prevailing narrative of AI-induced job losses. He boldly predicted that AI stands poised not as a threat but as a significant job creator, flipping the script on apprehensions.

This underlines data from the World Economic Forum, which predicts that while AI may replace approximately 85 million jobs by 2025, it is forecasted to create around 97 million new roles, resulting in a net growth of jobs.

Breaking language barriers with AI

One compelling facet of AI’s transformative potential in the workforce is its ability to overcome language barriers, thereby fostering diversity and inclusivity in business landscapes. This, in turn, paves the way for sustained business expansion into new markets and the creation of additional job opportunities.

A report from Cardiff University highlights the persistent magnitude of trade costs to the UK arising from language barriers. A supporting report by the University of Wales highlights that around 25% of export companies in England and Wales had lost business due to language or cultural deficiencies.

Thus, UK businesses getting their key messages ‘lost in translation’ is bad for UK plc. Embracing AI’s transformative power to boost efficiency and innovation while dismantling language barriers across industries is pivotal. The seamless integration of AI represents an exhilarating paradigm shift in creating diverse business ecosystems.

Fostering inclusive workplaces

Leveraging AI to remove language barriers enables corporations to thrive. AI-powered translation tools like Pocketalk SENTIO, for instance, facilitate effective communication among employees from diverse linguistic backgrounds within and between organisations. These tools, capable of real-time translation of both written and spoken language, break down language barriers and foster seamless collaboration among teams irrespective of their native languages.

AI-driven language processing tools play a crucial role in making communication more accessible to employees with disabilities, such as those who are deaf or hard of hearing. By transcribing spoken words into text or translating sign language into spoken language, AI ensures the full participation of all employees in meetings, discussions, and other interactions.

Moreover, AI contributes to inclusive recruitment practices. By employing algorithms to identify biases in job descriptions and recommending inclusive modifications, AI aids in attracting a diverse pool of candidates. This proactive approach, analysing language patterns and eliminating gendered or biassed terminology, fosters diversity right from the inception of the hiring process.

Long term competitive advantages

Ultimately, rather than succumbing to fear or overlooking its potential, business leaders should embrace the opportunities presented by AI. By harnessing AI’s capabilities, businesses can drive efficiencies, promote growth, and ultimately gain enduring competitive advantages in the evolving landscape of the modern workplace. 

The future of work is not about displacement but about the symbiotic relationship between human ingenuity and technological innovation, paving the way for a more inclusive, dynamic, and prosperous workforce.