Technology Forum – June 2018

The June 2018 meeting of the AAPD Tech Forum was held at AT&T, where IBM gave an insightful presentation on AI and data. Here, a future was outlined, not of where computers replace humans through Artificial Intelligence, but where we work together with technology through Augmented Intelligence. Humans and computers have different skillsets and by utilizing each other’s strengths, there can be further innovation.

In 2011, IBM debuted Watson, a computer that competed and won on the show Jeopardy! Now, they are using that same technology to advance fields such as medicine with Watson Health. As a computer, Watson can read through medical journals and clinical trials, and help identify new genetic indicators of diseases and pharmaceutical options better and faster than humans can. By then providing this information to doctors and researchers, humans and computers can work together to have a better outcome for patients.

The forum also discussed the issue of underrepresentation of the disability community in the data used for programs such as AI. IBM utilizes human-centered design solutions, a process of working directly with consumers in order to leverage their experiences and perspectives. By preventing the use of biased data, AI can learn and make decisions that include the viewpoints of all. Conversely, the data the disability community provides may help create ideas and technologies that can benefit everyone, disabled or not.

This forum was an opportunity to see where AI and technology are going in the healthcare sphere, and the incredible work companies like IBM are doing.


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The AAPD Technology Forum, comprised of individuals from the disability community and tech industry, works to advance access to technology to increase the opportunities and independence of all people with disabilities. The September Technology Forum will focus on the “open internet” and telecommunications policy.

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