European Commission’s thematic consultations on the post-2020 European Disability Strategy
8 December 2020
On 29th November EUD participated at the event organised by the European Disability Forum and Google, on the artificial intelligence and accessibility, which took place at the European Parliament. The event was hosted by the rapporteur of the European Accessibility Act, MEP Morten Løkkegaard.
The purpose of the event was to discuss how the artificial intelligence and new technologies can embrace human diversity and assist in everyday lives of persons with disabilities. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics have the potential to create an inclusive society in which persons with disabilities have access to wider experiences on an equal footing to other people. MEP Morten Løkkegaard highlighted that accessibility is the pre-condition for persons living with disabilities to enjoy equal participation and to play an active role in society. With greater accessibility for persons with disabilities we will get a stronger Europe, with increased mobility and more accessibility products and services.
In order to ensure that people with disabilities are not overlooked, Google and EDF gathered key stakeholders together from across the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, the disability movement and the European Union institutions. Technology start-ups in the field and accessibility experts, including members of the EDF ICT expert group presented good practice examples. Google Campus Tel Aviv and start-up company, Aira, which uses artificial intelligence presented Google glasses which help to those that are blind or have low-vision.
New technologies will play a big role in tackling society’s challenges and they must be fully inclusive for persons with disabilities. EDF Executive Committee Member, Humberto Insolera, highlighted that in light of the progress of technological developments, it's important that the European Accessibility Act sets basic accessibility standards. EDF Director, Catherine Naughton, emphasised the importance of legislation by saying that legislation has to play a role in ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness. EDF Director also encouraged industry players to keep involving persons with disabilities to make sure that emerging technologies to come are accessible.
This event was a conversation with ICT players and accessibility experts focussing on the disability movement’s take on emerging technologies like machine learning and wider artificial intelligence. EUD will be involved in other relevant events as greater accessibility and artificial intelligence have a potential to improve many lives of deaf Europeans.
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