Many people fear being ‘left behind’ by new technology. Automation and Artificial Intelligence, in particular, have the potential to disrupt society and the economy on a massive scale. How can we ensure there are as few ‘losers’ from this process as possible? And that the gains are not distributed in a way that entrenches existing inequalities even further?
Debating Europe recently attended an event on A.I. and accessibility in the European Parliament, co-hosted by the European Disability Forum and Google. The event follows on-going discussions between the EDF and Google on future-proofing new technologies to embrace human diversity, and we interviewed some of the participants on exactly this topic. What would they say?
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Cyril, who thinks it’s always important to consider carefully how individuals (as well as society as a whole) will benefit from new technologies. So, looking specifically at Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, how will it benefit individuals with disabilities?
To get a reaction, we spoke to Michal Waltner, Campus Tel Aviv Program Manager at Google. What would she say?
Next up, we had a comment from Joanna, who is worried that online technologies are more accessible than real-world premises. Could technologies such as virtual reality and online shopping make it easier for people to stay indoors, therefore reducing the pressure to improve accessibility in the real world? Will technology just make it easier to ignore people with disabilities?
We also had a question from Ronny, who wanted to know if many of the claims about artificial intelligence are just ‘science fiction’, or if they can really be implemented. We put this question to Humberto Insolera, who is on the Executive Committee of the European Disability Forum. What would he say?
How will technology benefit individuals with disabilities? Is there a risk technology will just make it easier to ignore people with disabilities, or will it give people greater autonomy and freedom? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
IMAGE CREDITS: (c) – diego cervo
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