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AI Disabilities Microsoft DeepMind Voiceitt

How AI Is Augmenting Lives Of People With Disabilities

Understand how AI could transform the lives of Disabled People

Gartner has predicted that Artificial Intelligence is going to triple the number of employment opportunities for people with disabilities by 2023.  Daryl Plummer, distinguished vice president, and Gartner Fellow, asserts that people with disabilities constitute an untapped pool of critically skilled talent, and AI, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and other emerging technologies have made work more accessible for employees with disabilities. Recent AI applications like Speech-to-Text transcription (audio-video captioning), predictive text, and facial recognition promise a more inclusive future for all of humanity. “AI can be a game-changer for people with disabilities, said Brad Smith, President, and CLO at Microsoft. “Already we’re witnessing this as people with disabilities expand their use of computers to hear, see and reason with impressive accuracy,” he said.

Science and technologies have been enhancing the lives of people with disabilities for decades. Motorized scooters, self-operated wheelchair to hearing aids, and many more have been helping numerous many. Soon in the future, AI will begin to reinforce these efforts with new abilities and expanded access and assistance. Company giants like Microsoft have started a five-year program called AI for Accessibility’, with an investment of $25 million, aiming to put AI in the hands of developers to make the world more accessible by providing AI solutions for the specially-abled. Let us have a quick look at how AI is helping to make the lives of the disabled easier.

Google’s DeepMind division is using AI to generate closed captions for deaf users. Researchers at the University of Oxford developed the algorithm of DeepMind. They trained it by making the AI model watch more than 5,000 hours of television and analyzed 17,500 unique words. The resulting model significantly outperformed a professional lip-reader, successfully translating 46.8 percent of words without error in 200 randomly selected clips compared to the human professional’s 12.4 percent of words.

Self-driving vehicles also promise to provide people with disabilities more mobility than ever before. They also provide more automotive independence to people who depend on a wheelchair. Even those with hearing and vision impairments or learning disabilities. E.g.,  Concept-i RIDE. Microsoft Windows Hello uses biometric login, i.e., fingerprint, face, or iris, which can work for people with physical disabilities or those with dyslexia who might struggle to remember passwords. accessiBe, a web accessibility platform enables epileptic users to disable various types of animation, such as GIFs and videos so that they can browse the web without complications. This is important as blinking lights and animations can trigger seizures for people with epilepsy.

Voiceitt is an app for people with speech impediments, including both those who need it temporarily after strokes and brain injuries, mental health conditions like cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, and Down’s syndrome. Using machine learning, Voiceitt picks up speakers’ unique speech patterns, recognizes any mispronunciations, and normalizes their speech then translates the speech in real-time through speech and text on the users’ iPhone or iPad.

AI has also helped in designing of exoskeletons for the paralyzed. These exoskeletons have the potential to enhance the lives of the paralyzed people and ones with similar physical deformities by making it easier for them to move their limbs from the waist down to walk and release the pressure that results from sitting for prolonged hours. AI along with robotics has resulted in robot caregivers who can be a great help for persons who are disabled. These robots can work around the clock to care for an individual without getting tired nor require a break.