Can dialog-based interfaces be the next Braille?

Gigaom

One byproduct of technological progress that’s often overlooked is the way in which new technologies serve to better integrate people with disabilities into society at large. The first electronic hearing aid was developed on the heels of the telephone; the advent of mechanized technology allowed for the invention and mass production of Braille cards. And the wheelchair, of course, followed the invention of the wheel, whenever that happened.

Advances like these have often meant the difference between participation and isolation for the disabled, allowing people to compensate for impairments that otherwise would have severely hindered them.

I believe we’re in the midst of another such advance in the realm of widespread dialog-based interfaces that rely on natural language understanding. For most of us, this technology means greater convenience. But for people who live with one of several disabilities – including impaired use of the hands, compromised mobility, or dyslexia –…

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