AI needs a redesign for people with disabilities – and it starts with including them in the process

  • May 20, 2021
AI needs a redesign for people with disabilities – and it starts with including them in the process

BY Cindy Mizaku
JRN 490 Spring 2021

illustrated compilation of graphics connected with different disabilities

Surrounded by researchers in a lab, Abraham Glasser takes the team through an automated sign language recognition program. He takes pride in working on a project where the vastness of deaf culture is reflected in the technology for people with hearing disabilities.

Frustrated with attention-grabbing developments, like the Amazon Alexa that claimed to understand sign language, Glasser said these “celebratory moments are actually almost offensive” when new tech systems do not work for those hard of hearing, like himself.

Many projects that aim to develop American Sign Language recognition fail to do so because deaf or hard of hearing people are not included in the process, Glasser signed. Since disability populations are diverse, specific signing styles vary across different backgrounds, making technology inaccurate and unreadable without proper federal regulations in place to follow.

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