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September 12, 2018

3 Ways AI Is Making the World More Inclusive & Accessible

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At Clarifai, we believe in the importance of constantly improving AI to fuel the progress of humanity, and one of the most important elements of this is to make our world more inclusive and accessible for all people. In this post, we'll share 3 ways this is already happening today.

1. Removing Communication Barriers 

GSTR (Gesture) is a web-based application that helps bridge the gap in non-verbal communication. Using Clarifai’s Custom Training technology, GSTR was able to recognize sign language from visual inputs and then gives feedback and translation information. 

 As with the spoken language, there are many different types of sign language being used around the world today. Each sign language has its own set of gestures that can be just as nuanced as different tones used in spoken languages. The best way to learn new languages is, of course, practice. GSTR is an application that can help you learn American sign language by providing feedback and translation on your gestures.

GSTR used Clarifai's custom visual recognition model that the GSTR team trained on sign language to recognize signs and gestures. It then responds in two different modes – educational and translation. Educational mode provides feedback confirming correct implementation of the sign. Translation mode gives the text and audio definition corresponding to the sign.

The enablement of technology like this will greatly improve offline and online communication and accessibility for millions of people. 


2. Access to Effective Healthcare

In areas where effective medicine is too expensive or inaccessible, artificial intelligence may lower the costs and ease of access while simultaneously engendering better outcomes. For example, i-Nside uses Clarifai’s visual recognition solution to build an accurate medical diagnosis platform that helps doctors all over the world provide the best medical care to their patients.

 Diagnosing ear problems is a very specialized field of expertise within medicine. General practitioners usually refer people with ear problems to Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialists. i-Nside wanted to build a diagnostic tool that would assist general practitioners and nurses to identify and treat ear problems accurately, thereby making the best medical care accessible to anyone in the world.

i-Nside is tackling this problem through endoscopic hardware with computer vision built in to deliver accurate diagnoses to doctors in every corner of the world. The tool is able to not only take pictures of the ear but also to analyze the results – all in one small, affordable, mobile package that anyone can use. Now, traditionally underserved markets like some parts of Africa, Asia, and South America now have access to the best specialist knowledge in medical care. As i-Nside continues to collect more endoscopic imagery, the model will get smarter and deliver even more accurate results by learning from the feedback.

“Our diagnosis tool is meant to augment doctors, not replace them,” Dr. Laurent Schmoll, i-Nside CEO, said. “We decided to work with Clarifai because our philosophies are very aligned – we believe that artificial intelligence can amplify human intelligence, but it’s not a substitute.”

And endoscopic diagnoses are just the start. i-Nside is hoping to expand both their imaging hardware and their artificially intelligent diagnosis tool to other fields of medicine like oncology (cancer) and radiology (medical imaging like x-rays).


3. Increase in Accessibility

For some, the artificial intelligence embedded in devices is seen as something to make life a bit easier. But for millions of people, it opens up doors to technology once out of reach. So many of the advances in personal devices that we're seeing today are having or will have a major impact in increasing the accessibility of the internet. 

For example, when we discuss biometric log-ins (using fingerprints or facial recognition to log into devices), we often leave out the fact that these advance substantially improve the accessibility of tech for people with disabilities or those with dyslexia who may struggle with typing out passwords. 

When it comes to navigating websites, many blind and vision-impaired people use screen-reading programs. However, most websites contain images, and not every image is given an appropriate title or alt text. This is another place where AI can offer increased accessibility. Through computer vision, screen readers would be able to "read" the images - describing them down to even the sentiment of the image. 

Today, only 1 in 10 people who need assistive devices have access, and getting specialized medical care is completely out of reach for millions both domestically and internationally due to costs or scarcity of specialists.  Continued advances in AI offers the world an opportunity to improve these issues both cheaply and broadly - improving the lives of millions of people around the globe. 

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