At the age of 13, Susan Ibitz wanted to become an FBI profiler. At age 17, she was diagnosed with Dyslexia. She described the diagnosis as a “death sentence for academic studies. I was disabled.” (Ibitz, 2022).
Today, Ibitz is a global expert in face reading and is paid to teach others how to do what she does. In her view, she became successful not despite her disability but because of it.
In this blog, we will discuss the implications of dyslexia for employers and employees in a world where artificial intelligence (AI) will be of growing importance.
Dyslexia is a disorder characterized by reading below the expected level for one’s age. Problems include spelling words, writing words, sounding out words in one’s head, and difficulty pronouncing words when reading aloud. Dyslexia may affect 3% to 7% of the population and is more often diagnosed in boys. The consensusis that it is an inherited disorder relating to the brain’s language processing system. (Wikipedia, 2023).
Dyslexia is not related to intellectual ability. Albert Einstein was dyslexic. Steven Spielberg has been formally diagnosed.
Dyslexia Meets Artificial Intelligence.
One symptom of dyslexia is difficulty spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. One of our former neighbors was an Emmy Award-winning television news announcer. In person, he was tall, athletic, and charismatic. On television, however, he appeared, small, slender, and shy. When asked about the discrepancy, he confided that he had dyslexia. The result was that he memorized his news stories rather than taking the chance of reading off the teleprompter. He thought the television issue we perceived was him radiating stress. This conversation took place before the arrival of artificial intelligence.
AI can serve as virtual editors for dyslexic executives. It is not unreasonable to have AI quietly and invisibly whisper in a dyslexic news reporter’s ear. As AI tools are integrated into higher education, it will provide more opportunities for people with dyslexia to pursue advanced degrees.
What Does Dyslexia Mean for Talent Recruitment?
A dyslexic brain is wired differently. In an AI era, “difference” can have advantages. People with dyslexia have unique skills that allow them to view issues from multiple dimensions. Employers seeking talent in data analytics, customer relations, graphic design, and IT might find that dyslexic thinkers help create unique perspectives that add value to AI.
Jo Cavan oversees recruitment for the section of the British Intelligence Services that provides surveillance of networks and telecommunications. He states that four out of ten of his department employees are dyslexic. “We are looking for people who can quickly spot small anomalies in the big picture. They must be able to sift through large amounts of data to prevent a terrorist act or the organization of a crime. Skills such as good shape and pattern recognition are essential. And many of my colleagues with dyslexia have these abilities.” (Ibitz, 2022).
Summary and Conclusion. Susan Ibitz is an example of someone who thought her professional dream was crushed by a diagnosis of dyslexia. Instead, she harnessed her unique brain processing system to launch Human Behavior Lab (humanbehaviorlab.com) and become a globally recognized figure in human facial reading.
Within five years, knowledge workers will begin to be replaced or augmented by AI systems (Lowrey, 2023). Dyslexics will, like Ibitz, have unique career advantages. The rise of AI will make it more probable that employers will be deliberative in adding dyslexics to their talent capabilities. Their unique way of thinking is hard for AI to duplicate.