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Machine Learning Opens ­p New Ways to Help Disabled People

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Companies are using software to help people with disabilities such as deafness and autism in new ways.

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IBM and other companies are developing and launching machine-learning technologies and applications to enhance the experience of disabled persons.

For example, IBM researchers are using language-processing software developed under the company's Watson project to support Content Clarifier, a tool designed to help cognitively- or intellectually-challenged people. It can substitute figures of speech such as "raining cats and dogs" with plainer terms, and shorten or break up long sentences with multiple clauses and indirect language.

IBM researcher Will Scott says his company is in discussions with a organization that helps autistic high school students migrate to college life about testing Content Clarifier to help people comprehend educational and administrative documents.

Tackling the reliability challenge of such machine-learning tools is essential if they are to be successful, according to Artist with Autism participant Austin Lubetkin, who has prototyped a navigation app using image-recognition technology to offer directions in the form of landmarks.

From Technology Review
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