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Tech is Choosing AI Over Humans, US Healthcare Isn't Read for a Surge of Seniors with Disabilities, & Bad-Faith "Reverse Discrimination" Claims Hurt the US Economy

DEI in 5: Biweekly DEI News

! The image is a promotional graphic for an event titled "DEI Roundtable: What's Going on In DEI," scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 31 at 5:30 PM EST. The graphic features a mustard-colored background at the top that fades into white towards the bottom. There are six circular headshot images of the speakers arranged in two rows of three. The top row includes Dr. Samantha Rae, Joquina Reed, and Dr. Janice Gassam Asare. The bottom row features Adriele Parker, John Graham Jr., and Dr. Venessa Marie Perry.

DEI practitioners, please join us on Wednesday, January 31st, as we discuss the changes we're seeing in the DEI space, our experiences as we navigate those changes, how we're feeling about being in this space, and what we think the future of DEI will look like.

You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, share thoughts, and also seek advice/support. 

Note: This roundtable discussion is not intended to be an informational session about DEI or how to transition into this work.

ICYMI: Watch the 50th Episode of DEI in 5 👇🏾

It’s the 50th episode of the ‘DEI in 5’ YouTube series I was joined by two of my fave DEI pals: Caren Young and Clarissa Fuselier. We shared our thoughts on the current state of DEI, talked about the need for DEI practitioners to have community (and not just spaces to gather—which Clarissa reminded is not the same as community), and also the need for more thoughtful and intentional job postings for DEI roles (really all roles, tbh).

Today’s DEI News👇🏾

  • The tech sector is pouring billions of dollars into AI. But it keeps laying off humans

  • U.S. healthcare isn’t ready for a surge of seniors with disabilities

  • Bad-faith reverse-discrimination claims hurt America’s economic future and global standing

  • In Seattle, the Black Legacy Homeowners Network wants to help fulfill MLK Jr.’s ‘dream’

  • As diversity, equity and inclusion comes under legal attack, companies quietly alter their programs

    Read time: 5 minutes

MGMT PlaybookPractical management insights straight to your inbox every Wednesday.

Today’s Top 3 👇🏾

A person packing up her desk and walking out of the office is pictured in this stock image. Data indicates more than 5,500 people have been laid off in the tech sector less than two weeks into 2024.

Anchalee Phanmaha/Moment RF/Getty Images

Summary: In the tech sector, a wave of job cuts has begun in the early weeks of 2024, coinciding with increased investments in artificial intelligence (AI). While concerns about AI displacing workers have been prevalent, not all recent layoffs are directly tied to AI replacing employees. However, many companies are justifying layoffs by citing their investments in AI as a reason for resource reallocation. This ongoing workforce upheaval within the tech industry, despite being at the forefront of AI development, may signal future unrest as AI continues to reshape the broader business landscape.

The Details:

  • Varied Layoffs: Major tech companies, including Google and Amazon, have announced significant layoffs in various business divisions. These layoffs come after both companies had previously disclosed substantial investments in AI through ventures like Anthropic. Additionally, Discord, Unity Software, and Duolingo have also initiated workforce reductions.

  • High Layoff Numbers: In the first two weeks of 2024 alone, over 5,500 tech employees have lost their jobs. This follows a challenging period for the tech industry, which saw hundreds of thousands of layoffs due to shifts in pandemic-induced demand. In 2023, there were approximately 262,682 tech industry layoffs, following 164,969 layoffs in the previous year.

  • AI as a Factor: Many tech firms are attempting to address overhiring during the pandemic and broader economic uncertainty by citing AI as a reason for layoffs. Companies like Chegg, IBM, Dropbox, Duolingo, and even Google have used AI investments as a justification for reducing their workforces. AI's impact on the job market is still evolving, with predictions of both job displacement and the creation of new roles.

Why is this relevant: This situation underscores the complex relationship between AI, job security, and the tech industry. As AI technology advances, it has the potential to disrupt existing job roles, which could lead to social and economic challenges. The layoffs also raise concerns about disparities in their impact on employees with less represented identities, prompting labor advocates and lawmakers to scrutinize these issues. The evolving landscape of AI and employment highlights the need for thoughtful workforce planning and support mechanisms as industries adapt to new technologies.



Summary: The aging population in the United States, particularly the baby boomer generation, is expected to lead to a significant increase in the number of older adults with disabilities in the coming decades. However, the country's healthcare system is ill-prepared to meet their specific needs, as highlighted by shortcomings revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health are now addressing these issues through initiatives aimed at improving access to medical treatments, equipment, and research for people with disabilities, including older adults. These efforts seek to make healthcare more equitable and effective for this vulnerable population.

The Details:

  • Growing Population of Older Adults with Disabilities: The number of older adults facing difficulties with walking, seeing, hearing, memory, cognition, and daily tasks is set to increase significantly due to the aging baby boomer generation.

  • Inadequate Healthcare System: The healthcare system lacks readiness to cater to the specific needs of this growing population, as seen during the pandemic when older adults with disabilities struggled to access treatments and faced higher mortality rates.

  • Initiatives to Address the Issue: The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health are taking steps to improve access to medical treatments, equipment, and research for people with disabilities, including older adults..

Why is this relevant: The increasing number of older adults with disabilities poses a significant challenge to the healthcare system in the United States. Addressing the needs of this population, combating biases among healthcare providers, and improving accessibility are essential for ensuring equitable healthcare for all. Initiatives from government agencies aim to rectify these issues and promote inclusivity, research, and better healthcare outcomes for older adults with disabilities.

The Martin Luther King Jr. and Washington Monuments are seen ahead of a wreath laying ceremony on Jan. 12.


Summary: America's history is marred by racial discrimination, and its lasting impact continues to affect the nation's economic, political, legal, and education systems. This article underscores the need to address these ongoing racial disparities.

The Details:

  • Historical Injustices: From slavery to the Jim Crow South, redlining to the destruction of Black Wall Street, America has profited from Black labor while denying Black prosperity.

  • Financial Inequality: The wealth gap between white and Black families is substantial, with white families holding 10 times more wealth, and Black individuals controlling less than half of one percent of capital in America.

  • Systemic Barriers: Ongoing barriers include a criminal justice system with five times higher Black incarceration rates and societal bias reducing Black presence in corporate leadership.

Why is this relevant: Here it is emphasized that ignoring these racial inequities perpetuates systemic issues. Addressing these disparities necessitates interventions targeting social determinants of health affecting Black communities. Understanding and mitigating these inequities is crucial for fostering a more just and prosperous nation for all.

A few other developments…👇🏾

Until later,

This newsletter is co-curated by Nico Escobar. Need virtual coordination? Social media management? Content creation? Reach out to her!

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