We Can’t Photoshop Our Way to Diversity: The Broadsheet
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Ginni Rometty writes about how AI will change—not eliminate—all jobs, France moves to get rid of discrimination around who can access IVF, and a gathering of tech titans tries to photoshop its way to diversity. Have an inspiring Thursday.
• Photoshop fail. On 2019’s outrage meter, this will likely register rather low, but it is so emblematic of the working world today that we must discuss:
BuzzFeed yesterday discovered that the women featured in a photo of “titans of tech” were photoshopped in. The doctored snapshot, which appeared in GQ and on the personal Instagram of luxury designer Brunello Cucinelli, was captioned as featuring Silicon Valley executives who’d gathered for a summit of sorts in Cucinelli’s village in Italy, including two women. But reporter Ryan Mac figured out that the original photo was actually of only men and the two female CEOs pictured—Peek’s Ruzwana Bashir and SunRun’s Lynn Jurich—were digitally added after the fact.
A Cucinelli representative offered this explanation: that not all the attendees were captured in a single photograph so “we added in photos of two female CEOs taken during the weekend” with the women’s permission. GQ said it wasn't aware the photo had been altered.
If this was an attempt to illustrate diversity, it was a misguided, lazy one; "more a cheapfake than a deepfake,” as Mac so perfectly put it.
While the effort was unwise in concept and laughably bad in execution (“her head isn’t quite in line with what is supposedly her leg and foot”), it is highly effective as a metaphor for a corporate world looking for a drag-and-drop solution to an entrenched cultural crisis; one that publicly preaches women’s empowerment but is accused of pregnancy discrimination, one that doles out perks to new mothers before allegedly stymying their career progression, one that finagles employee data to give the illusion of a not-as-bad gender pay gap.
Yes, real, true diversity takes hard work and dramatic institutional change, and until that end goal is reached, it's best to be honest about your shortcomings. Attempts to manipulate them out of existence are counterproductive and are, in the long run, often found out.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• IBM and AI. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty writes for Fortune about how artificial intelligence will change—not eliminate—nearly all jobs. She argues that, to prepare, universities should loosen work-study restrictions to allow students to gain experience at companies off-campus; Pell Grants should cover skills education; and federal student loans should be made available for education besides traditional degrees. Fortune
• Theresa's last act. In one of her last acts as U.K. prime minister, Theresa May is expected to pass into law legislation that would lower U.K. emissions to “net-zero” by 2050. "Standing by is not an option," May said in one of the last releases from her office. Fortune
• Not going quietly. Women who have been fighting a gender discrimination lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for 14 years are trying to stop Goldman from forcing them into arbitration. Their argument? It's been too long—with "755 docket entries, 376 discovery requests, 100 letters to the court, 44 motions, 33 days of depositions, and 20 expert reports"—for the bank to push them out of open court. Bloomberg
• Tune in. Our Fortune 500 Daily podcast is in full swing, and today's one-minute brief is on Advanced Micro Devices, led by CEO Lisa Su. The company is No. 460 on the 500 list, a new addition this year. You can hear from Su in today's clip: Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Giphy hires Alexis Berger as VP of revenue. Prudential names Shané Harris head of the Prudential Foundation. Quibi assembles its board of directors, which will include Ariel Investments' Mellody Hobson, former DreamWorks president Ann Daly, and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• IVF pour tous. In France, only heterosexual couples married or living together for more than two years have been allowed to access IVF. The country intends to lift that ban, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said, opening up IVF to single women and women in same-sex relationships. Guardian
• Sara settles. In Israel, Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, faced accusations that she misused $100,000 in public funds paying a cook at the couple's home. She'll pay $15,000 in fines and restitution to settle the case. New York Times
• Keeping Ken Burns. PBS chief executive Paula Kerger has been at the helm for 13 years. Part of her job now? Keeping Ken Burns and the next Downton Abbey away from Netflix. Her pitch: "An independent filmmaker like Ken Burns wants to see that his programs don’t just disappear into the Netflix jukebox but will be carefully protected and curated in communities." Wall Street Journal
• The MEE generation. The Millennial Experience Economy—spending money on experiences, not things—is only growing. Here, four entrepreneurs in the category, from puppy parties and teacup pig parties to bridesmaids for hire, weigh in on the trend. Refinery29
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