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25 May 2022

Digital accessibility is a global concern for every country in the world.  A recent article advocating for Digital Access for people with disability was recently released by the United Nations.  The article raises both the benefits and pitfalls of new technologies for everyone.

A report by UN Special Rapporteur Gerard Quinn highlighted Artificial Intelligence and its fundamental importance in terms of human existence.  In particular, the benefits for employment, education, and independence are seen as far greater for those with a disability.  Mr Quinn said, “However, there are many well-known discriminatory impacts.”  He also pointed out that unless AI has been created with accessibility already a feature, those who are currently left behind, have little chance of catching up.  The article also has links to where you can download Mr Quinn’s report and The 2008 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

Some Pros of Mr Quinn’s report are –

People with disability can:

  • Live and travel more independently
  • Gain access to quality education
  • Be successful in gaining and keeping employment
  • Be included in what others take for granted, such as digital entertainment such as movies and electronic games

Some of the Cons in Mr Quinn’s report are –

  • Thousands of people with disability are being denied their basic human right
  • The creation of new technology with accessibility already included is not a priority
  • A lack of collaborative space, between corporate, government and society – It takes longer to rectify the negative impact of a lack of accessibility
  • Those left behind, either struggle to or can’t catch up
  • Artificial Intelligence can still carry human biases in excluding people with a disability: as stated in the story – “One example was in employment, where recruitment processes increasingly use algorithms to filter out candidates.”

Read Humanity should get the best from AI, not the worst

Download an Easy to read PDF copy of Mr Quinn’s Report

View the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities