It's not all chips and wearable sensors at Intel's CES press conference. CEO Brian Krzanich just announced a far-reaching diversity initiative, promising to hire, promote and retain more women and underrepresented minorities. In particular, he said the company intends to invest $300 million in diversity initiatives, with the goal of reaching "full representation" at all levels of the company by 2020. It remains unclear how exactly Intel will determine what the appropriate ratio is, or what number of employees in a specific demographic might indicate success. Intel simply said in a statement that it "full representation" means "representative of the talent available in America."
The news comes in the wake of what Intel referred to in a statement as "a recent confluence of events related to women and under-represented minorities" -- a clear nod to the ongoing Gamergate saga. In fact, Intel itself was implicated in the controversy, when it pulled ads from Gamasutra, a website that had spoken out against sexism in the gaming industry.
Even without the spectre of Gamergate, though, Intel's diversity initiative follows a series of bleak staffing disclosures from other tech companies such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook, most of which have workforces that are predominantly white and male. Indeed, Krzanich says he considers this an initiative not just for Intel, but for peer companies as well. "We're calling on our industry to again make the seemingly impossible possible by making a commitment to real change and clarity in our goals," he said in a statement. "Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers."