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China: Harnessing AI for Persons with Disabilities

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At the 53rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other international organisations in Switzerland, made a joint statement on artificial intelligence (AI) to advance the rights of people with disabilities on behalf of 70 nations.

According to the joint statement, people with disabilities are full, equal members of humanity. The protection of the equal rights and interests of people with disabilities and the encouragement of their integrated development have become increasingly widely accepted in the international community since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into effect.

According to the joint speech, the rapid advancement of AI in recent years has significantly altered the lives of persons with disabilities. On the one hand, AI deviates from the traditional model by promoting inclusive development and the human rights of people with impairments.

Three ideas were proposed in the combined statement. First, there is a need to boost collaboration, have in-depth discussions about closing the digital gap, and develop more diverse ways for people with disabilities to equitably benefit from social and economic progress.

The second is to develop inclusively so that superior AI technology may assist the disabled and enhance its comfort, accessibility, and inclusivity.

The third is to utilise technology responsibly, encourage AI to further the defence of disabled people’s rights and interests, and give special consideration to the disabled. The joint statement emphasised the need to work together to advance the international disability cause’s healthy growth and fully realise the objective of “not one less” on a global scale.

Further, people with disabilities can greatly benefit from several advantages provided by the high-quality development of AI technology.

AI can increase accessibility by offering those with hearing or speech impairments other communication methods, such as speech recognition and natural language processing. For people with physical limitations, it may also make it possible to use alternate input techniques like eye tracking or gesture recognition.

AI-powered assistive technology can improve independence and mobility for people with disabilities. For instance, intelligent prostheses or exoskeletons can improve mobility and motor control, while AI-driven navigation devices can help those who are blind find their way around.

AI can provide individualised support catered to the unique requirements of people with impairments. To increase convenience and inclusivity, machine learning algorithms can analyse user data and make suggestions for adaptable tools, personalised settings, or accessible material.

Across a range of digital platforms and applications, AI can improve accessibility features. Making technology more accessible to persons with impairments, includes automated closed captioning, image recognition for alt-text generation, and voice command integration.

People with impairments can become more independent and empowered by utilising AI. It can simplify routine chores, such as home automation or personalised healthcare management, allowing people to lead more independent lives.

Also, individuals with cognitive limitations, such as memory problems or learning challenges, can benefit from AI-based technologies. These technologies can provide reminders, organisational assistance, and adaptive learning approaches to accommodate a variety of cognitive skills.

The wider population gains from the advancement of AI technology with an emphasis on accessibility and inclusivity, in addition to the disabled. Promoting inclusion and enhancing user experiences for all users are two benefits of designing goods and services that are accessible to all.


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