Technology November 19, 2018
Artificial Intelligence makes a huge impact in lives of disabled people
We all know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) have made a huge difference to lives of disabled people in numerous ways. It has made education, work, communication and day to day activities easier and smoother for people with all kinds of disabilities. Thanks to technology giants like Microsoft and Google who are working on improving AI for disabled people which is going to revolutionize accessibility even more.
Voice interaction, image, text and visual recognition, speech to text and summarisation are now made easier due to various mobile apps and technological advancements. Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft Cortana are being widely used by people with disabilities across the world. Best part is that things are only going to get better because tech giants are trying and testing improved and advanced methods to make technology more accessible for disabled people!
Amar Jain, a visually impaired lawyer and disability rights activist says AI has made a terrific impact on lives of disabled people.
Earlier, disabled people had minimal access and exposure to things around them. But now, it’s different. They are able to do things independently. There are more options to get information, wider network and options to leverage one’s talents. I would suggest that when a person is developing a new app, they must look into making it inclusive. People with and without disabilities must be able to access the technology. Most of the mobile apps that I use on a regular basis are the ones used by people without disabilities as well. So when you make technology inclusive and universal, it makes a huge difference- Amar Jain, Lawyer
Opening doors to independence
One of the best things about AI is that it has enabled disabled people to live independently. For instance, a blind person can navigate inside their house and can switch off and on lights without a second person’s help with the help of certain mobile apps and technologies. They can turn on home appliances and even turn it off on their own which was a difficult thing until a few years back! Certain AI devices are reaching out to them in different ways.
Even though self-driving cars are not widely used in India, it is gaining popularity in western countries. This is yet another blessing for people with disabilities! So for instance, if a blind person or wheelchair user wants to go shopping on their own, they do not have to rely on anyone. All they need to do is, take out their car and do shopping on their own! We hope self-driving cars are made a reality in India very soon.
When a person is independent, it boosts their confidence and overall mental well-being.
Miles to go
There is no doubt that AI still has a long way to go. With tech giants holding hands together, we are sure to get some great AI devices in the years to come.
Earlier, usage of internet was a distant dream to people with disabilities. Since they did not have access, it was quite difficult to learn new things or even know what was happening in the world around them. Just like that, AI is also blooming slowly and steadily just like how assistive technology did.
Just like a person without disabilities, disabled people want to have fun and do things on their own! Tech giants are also getting to know the fact that they have been making a huge difference to lives of people with and without disabilities. This has also prompted them to try out new AI techniques for the future. Who knows, in a few years disabled people might get a robot who can drive a car around for them!
AI has definitely benefitted a lot of blind people across the world. Tony Kurian is a Ph.D student at IIT-Mumbai.
“I use a couple of mobile apps that are very helpful. For instance, the Eye-D Pro app that I use has multiple functionalities. It helps me to navigate, read out images loud and I can also travel without hassle. These are just some of the functions of this app. AI is an emerging technology, and there is so much in store. It is truly going to revolutionize technology. When any technology emerges, it caters to a majority.”
As disabled people come to the forefront the demand for such technologies will grow and we are going to see some revolutionary changes in the way people with disabilities live and work.
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