Company values professionals with autism to work with AI

Skills of people on the spectrum, such as focusing and recognizing patterns, are valuable for working with artificial intelligence, says startup

Who works with artificial intelligence (AI) needs to have some special skills: attention to detail to perform repetitive tasks, pattern recognition for algorithm training, ease in solving puzzles and being a very focused person.

Listing these skills, a professional profile stands out: that of neurodiverse people who are on the autism spectrum, who do all of this very well, points out Bloomberg. The report mentions the case of startup American company Enabled Intelligence, which provides AI services to federal agencies in the country. 

Its executive director was inspired by an Israeli program that recruits people with autism for cyber intelligence work. From then on, the company adjusted its work rules to accommodate these professionals and build three new areas focused on the neurodiverse workforce. 

Jordan Wright, who identifies as being on the autism spectrum, was one of the professionals hired by Enabled Intelligence. Until then, he had spent long periods without a job and only worked in low-paying positions. “Without a doubt, I can say that this is the best opportunity I’ve ever had in my life,” says Jordan, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Decades-old discrimination

Jordan is not the only neurodiverse professional who has suffered discrimination and unemployment. For decades, workers disabled face this type of problem; It took a large deficit in the supply of cybersecurity professionals, compared to the demand for this type of service, for companies to turn their attention to the skills of people who think and work in a different way.

The US intelligence community was slow to recognize the opportunity to employ neurodiverse people, experts point out. These professionals represent less than 12% of the workforce of people with disabilities in the country, according to statistics from Bloomberg.

As leader of the neurodiverse talent training program at MITRE, which operates research and development centers funded by the US government, Teresa Thomas explains that, in other countries, this policy is nothing new. She cites Denmark, the United Kingdom and Australia as examples of nations where programs that encourage the hiring of neurodiverse people are already well established.

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