Witnesses Named for Tech Diversity Hearing

MultiChannel News—John Eggerton

The House Energy & Commerce Committee's Consumer Protection Subcommittee has unveiled the witnesses for its rescheduled hearing on diversity and inclusion--or the lack thereof--in tech.

The hearing is March 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Weighing in on the issue will be: Nicol Turner Lee, Center for Technology Innovation, Governance Studies, Brookings Institution; Mark Luckie, former manager at Facebook and Twitter; Jiny Kim, VP, policy and programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice; David Lopez, counsel, Outten and Golden, and co-Dean, Rutgers Law School; Jill Houghton, president & CEO, Disability: In; Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president, University of Maine; Natalie Oliverio, Military Talent Partners.

Silicon Valley has long been under scrutiny over the dearth of various minority populations in its workforce and the impact of its algorithms on those populations.

“People of color, women, and older Americans are largely absent from the workforce of American technology companies,” House Energy & Commerce Committee chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Consumer Protection Subcommittee chair Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in a joint statement last week. “Tools like algorithms are being used to make decisions, like who gets a job or a loan, that deeply affect people’s lives. Yet designers of these technologies often don’t take into consideration the full diversity of America. As a result, their products often have biased results that lead to discriminatory outcomes. We look forward to exploring the effects of these biases and need for inclusion in the sector’s workforce.”