Can ChatGPT Make The World More Accessible?

Published April 3, 2023

ChatGPT is the most talked-about technological innovation in recent times. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), ChatGPT is a chatbot that is designed to interact with humans and provide human-like responses to questions on a wide range of topics.

Apart from answering questions and responding to comments, ChatGPT can perform various other tasks, including coding, debugging codes, composing music, writing emails, cover letters, news stories, essays, and many more. 

While some people worry that the mass adoption of ChatGPT might take away jobs or make it easier for people to cheat and plagiarize, it has generated a great deal of hope and excitement across the world. It's possible that ChatGPT can further level the playing field for people with disabilities and help them overcome barriers they face in their daily lives, like many other technological innovations in the past. 

The Role of AI in Creating a More Accessible World for People with Disabilities 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) can make products and services more accessible to people with disabilities. 

For example, in 2020, the Egyptian government used an AI-powered chatbot to deliver COVID-19-related news and information to people with hearing impairment and help them get emergency services. Using sign language, the chatbot guided users through a questionnaire of COVID-19-related symptoms and connected them to an emergency contact center if necessary.

The chatbot performed better than most people expected and managed to reduce the workload of call centers and customer support teams in the healthcare sector. 

A similar tool, Uinclude, can detect subtle and unconscious biases in job advertisements discouraging people with disabilities and marginalized communities from applying.

The success of these emerging AI-powered products has caused many experts to see AI as a disruptive technology that can eliminate the hurdles in making products more accessible to those with disabilities. 

ChatGPT Could Make Life Easier for People with Disabilities 

One of the key strengths of ChatGPT as of now is its ability to generate comprehensively researched, informative content. As the use cases for ChatGPT develop and get tested in the months and years to come, it might be highly useful for people with communication disabilities caused by motor neuron disease, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, and many other conditions. 

For example, ChatGPT can pull all the information on a particular topic and provide an easy-to-understand summary to those who have difficulties researching and finding information independently due to physical or cognitive impairments.  

ChatGPT might be integrated into text-to-speech tools, which are now increasingly used by people with disabilities. Many people who currently use these tools say that most of the time, they tend to economize on words most of the time due to the sheer amount of effort involved in composing personal and business-related messages. Integrating ChatGPT into these tools could make it easier for people with disabilities to communicate and interact with other people. 

People with disabilities may also use ChatGPT to draft or improve the content for personal and business emails, correct errors in the content produced for various purposes, engage in small talk and practice conversations, and many more. 

Recently, Equality AI developed an AI-powered tool called Flowy, incorporating ChatGPT’s natural language processing technology and can help developers build accessible websites and web-based solutions. By analyzing websites and other web-based products, it is possible to identify what issues need to be addressed and how to correct them.

A critical aspect to understand about ChatGPT is that it’s still in its infancy. The more people use it, the more it can learn about human behavior and mimic human conversations more authentically. As the kinks get ironed out, and the technology becomes more sophisticated, it will produce better, more reliable results. 

How ChatGPT Can Shape the Future of Accessible Technology 

ChatGPT is more promising and stands out from most conventional AI-based tools because of its potential ability to develop a human-like understanding of issues. This will progressively allow it to think and respond to complex and nuanced questions and problems like a human.

This self-learning power can play a vital role in designing and developing new and innovative assistive technology in the foreseeable future. By leveraging ChatGPT’s capabilities, businesses will have an opportunity to make their products more accessible and inclusive and address the needs of a wide range of users. 


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