How AI Can Influence Accessibility
Thoughts on establishing best practices in AI ethics and creating an inclusive digital future
Recently, I was involved in several “Human Rights by Design” discussions with fellow UX designers and product managers. One of the fascinating topics was about Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics with a focus on accessibility, universal design and digital inclusion. The conversations came out really informative, engaging and quite thought-provoking, so I decided to probe deeper and share my thoughts and findings on how to establish best practices in AI ethics with regard to digital accessibility and usability.
As society has entered into a new chapter, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, AI is viewed to be rapidly changing the accessibility world. Some believe it makes the web more accessible. Some remain sceptical of these AI algorithms and technological evolutions. Whatever your view is, AI products are already changing the way we interact, learn and communicate.
In order to explore the ideas of how to create an inclusive digital future, it is vital to understand the technologies under AI’s umbrella and how they are related to accessibility. This becomes the first part of my research.
Part 1: Terminologies and How AI Technologies are related to Accessibility
The terminologies in AI are interconnected and interdependent. People often confuse these terminologies. Let me provide two examples:
a. people ask if data visualisation should be taken into consideration when discussing accessibility best practices for AI products.
b. people ask if a product is advertised as an AI product but technically it is a machine learning enhancement, do we still need to study it as part of the AI ethical framework?
The answer is yes to both questions.
Here is a brief explanation of the key terms. I only picked up a few which are essential to this article. For any in-depth information or case studies, please check out the Elsevier AI Resource Center or other relevant scientific research.