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How AI is making the web more accessible

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By John White Last Updated on Jun 14, 2021

Where Does AI Fit into the Picture?

The increasing domination of the online space comes with big expectations around accessibility. The stark incapacity digital divide, however, has spurred several ADA lawsuits since 2015 concerning web access.

AI-powered technologies can help:

  • Overcome general communication, transportation, and accessibility problems
  • Enable disabled individuals to live independently
  • Reduce technology barriers that block people with disabilities from taking part in digital activities such as shopping online

Suggested Read: Artificial Intelligence business potential

Image Recognition

Google launched the Lookout app in 2019 to help blind people learn about their environment through a combination of image processing and machine learning. That’s a step in the right direction and should point other businesses towards the right thing to do both from a moral and business perspective.

In general, 3.2 billion pictures are shared daily on the internet. Without the help of AI, people with disabilities would have no choice of understanding the contents of these pictures.

AI Technology for Website Accessibility

Fueled by the needs of persons with disabilities, AI building blocks are now being assembled to develop complex, creative services that can enhance their lives and fulfill tasks on their behalf. Find out how these building blocks overcome disability difficulties and contribute to creating the online experience more accessible:

accessiBe is an AI-powered, pioneering web accessibility tool that simplifies how site owners and companies can make their content accessible to disabled users.

It allows automatic and bulk creation of correct alt text descriptions for all your website’s pictures, making them accessible to visually weakened uses.

Also Read: Artificial intelligence trends for 2019

Facial-Recognition Based CAPTCHA Entry

facial recognition

Facial recognition has been a boon of sorts for people with disabilities. But it is not devoid of privacy or security issues. By examining data — normally, several photos of a person’s face from various angles — artificial intelligence can guess who’s in front of the camera.

Apple used facial recognition technology to unlock iPhones back in 2017 while Microsoft has its proprietary Hello software. Both these technologies enable users to log in using only their face. No passwords are required.

Lip Reading

Researchers came up with the idea of Deep Video Portraits in 2018 that used AI to edit facial expressions of actors so they accurately matched dubbed voices, thereby saving time and decreasing costs of the film industry. The application of this software also corrects head poses and gazes in video conferencing and allows for new visual and postproduction effects.

It is AI-powered technology like this that will soon make dodgy subtitles a thing of the past and allow people with hearing disabilities to enjoy video content online. Integrating the program into a phone would permit hearing-impaired individuals to interpret what others are saying.

Automated Text Summaries

Think about it — 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated daily, and that is likely to increase. This makes automatically summarizing content a serious challenge. The situation is a lot more difficult for people with low literacy skills.

Summaries of long news articles, conversations, and documents allow for faster and more efficient consumption. And that is now possible with the help of AI. Automatic text summarization can have a wide variety of real-world applications including media monitoring, marketing, research, and analysis.

Also Read: History of artificial intelligence

Real-Time Translation

The sheer number of cultures and languages worldwide can present various communication problems online. That’s why wide research went into making systems that allow people to communicate sans any language barriers.

Think Google Translate. Sure, the earlier translations were full of inconsistencies and errors. But all that changed in November 2016 when Google launched the Neural Machine Translation system, lowering error rates by 85 percent.

Concluding Remarks

The use of AI technology offers new opportunities for people with disabilities. It makes the internet a more accessible space and allows for greater workplace support as well. Businesses must remain aware of AI developments that make the workplace accessible for employees with disabilities if they wish to avoid lawsuits.

AI advancements will help businesses meet legal obligations and support a diverse user base. However, ease of use and trust in AI must be fostered over time. Till then, the internet needs to do its part to foster an inclusive and accessible environment for all users, whether disabled or non-disabled.