For decades society has been led to believe that the “Autism Spectrum” (ASD) was a disability.
The medical industry cast the net for terms such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome more than just a little too wide, and in so doing they covered more individuals with exceptional talents than they did those who truly have a disability. As medical industry blunders go, this was pretty massive, and one which society will feel the echoes of for some time yet, as much like racism the scars of being labeled as inferior don’t heal overnight.
In many US companies, the term diversity is applied as meaning the 7 federally mandated “protected classes” of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability plus any local laws which may apply. This is done for liability reasons, and like most laws, the protected classes exist to protect some, not all. In the business and legal world today, this is the definition of diversity.
To me, diversity means something quite different, the diversity of perspective, and subsequent diversity of thought. You can have a tech company populated with employees of every race, religion, and nationality who all “toe the line” and think exactly the same way, offering virtually zero diversity of thought. At least two of the “Big 5” tech companies have made that sufficiently explicit in their recruitment for the criteria to be widely known. For any next-generation company to reach the full potential of collective superintelligence through working with Mediated Artificial Superintelligence (mASI) entities such as Uplift diversity of perspective is required.