Microsoft and partners aim to shrink the ‘data desert’ limiting accessible AI
AI-based tools like computer vision and voice interfaces have the potential to be life-changing for people with disabilities, but the truth is those AI models are usually built with very little data sourced from those people. Microsoft is working with several nonprofit partners to help make these tools reflect the needs and everyday realities of people living with conditions like blindness and limited mobility.
Consider for example a computer vision system that recognizes objects and can describe what is, for example, on a table. Chances are that algorithm was trained with data collected by able people, from their point of view — likely standing.
A person in a wheelchair looking to do the same thing might find the system isn’t nearly as effective from that lower angle. Similarly, a blind person will not know to hold the camera in the right position for long enough for the algorithm to do its work, so they must do so by trial and error.