Are we strong enough not to fAIl them?
Last week, I was at an AI Access event in Vienna. The European Disability Forum organized the event with the following aim: “ensuring new technological trends improve the lives of persons with disabilities”.
As an accessibility fosterer & consultant, I am eager to learn about the latest developments, even more so when an event bridges the theme with UNCRPD principles.
Acknowledging the potential of assistive technologies, the conference was a good reminder for us to involve al kind of (disabled) persons at all stages.
I was reminded that the European Commission appointed an Austrian expert in the field of disability to join the High-Level Group on Artificial Intelligence (Klaus Hoeckner –Hilfsgemeinschaft). A very positive sign to make sure recommendations will be inclusive for that matter.
I also learned that Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) has a son with special needs and on universal Children’s day, I hope we will be able to help spread the message that we all need to benefit from new technological developments but also be empowered to discover new potentials. We should encourage and enable children to send feedback on the latest developments.
Children with disabilities should not be left behind.
On Friday, I made a small comment for those children or youth I was happy and thankful to teach, learn with and from😊
My dyslexic students who were eager to read quickly and were so happy to discuss ‘great writers on the road’ when they found out text to speech could empower them when needed. I am sure young people have a lot of feedback and questions about AI and its ‘superpowers’. They are usually aware of their rights but not systematically. Parents and teachers have a huge mission there, but we should all feel “AI –accessibility –children concerned citizens”. And they should not be left behind. Especially not when they are in care of the State and their guardians are not parents but a set of professionals who care but do not have the time or training to help them with new technologies when they could benefit from it. The question of mental disability was raised many times. How can we involve them? There are so many ways! But start with children😊
I hope we will all be strong enough to be ‘inspired’ by children when creating, testing, improving new technologies AND ALSO open the floor for them to co-create our universal design and standards.
Picture © Zero Project https://zeroproject.org/practice/vietnam-nhat-hong/
The EDF (European Disability Forum) report can be found here and I recorded it to speech here