5 Reasons Why Reliable Automation Access is Important to Disabled Communities

Automation enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and improves overall productivity. When not done ethically, automation can be used in spaces it's not needed and left out of spaces where the use of automation can make a meaningful impact. Regardless of how you feel about the automation revolution, it's here and the benefits don't end at streamlining business operations.


Kent Marrero

9/29/20234 min read

3rd gen. black Amazon echo dot speaker
3rd gen. black Amazon echo dot speaker

5 Reasons Why Automation Access is Important to Disabled Communities

It's Not A Luxury. It's Accessibility.

If you live your life with any disability, you might already use automation to make your day-to-day manageable. When you're struggling with depression or navigating the world with sensory sensitivity, using something like a litter robot to reduce the task avoidance tied to cleaning up after your pet companions can make a monumental difference. Telling your Google Assistant or Alexa to remind you to eat can break hyperfixation work sprints, which is common when competing in an abled body market.

It is crucial to recognize that reliable maintenance by companies developing automation technology is not a luxury but a matter of disability access. Ensuring that automation remains accessible and inclusive for individuals with disabilities isn't a nice thing to do; it's a matter of disability rights.

Here are five reasons you need to care about automation access and whether or not developers and programmers reliably maintain it in the machine learning industries.

Accessibility Considerations in Automation Development

Have you ever uninstalled an app because it was too confusing or it wasn't easy to use? We all have, but now put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to use an automation or application to make living easier or possible. Suddenly, user-friendly interfaces are much more high-stakes.

Automation developers need to prioritize accessibility from the early stages of technology creation. This involves designing interfaces, controls and features compatible with assistive technologies used by individuals with disabilities. By integrating accessibility standards into the development process, companies can ensure that automation systems are usable by all, regardless of their abilities.

When these considerations are not taken into account, not only is a target consumer market missed, but this oversight's impact on over 54 million people in the US and 1.3 billion worldwide is life-altering. We're capable of better.

Enhancing Independence and Autonomy

Let's get real. Automation can be a game-changer for an overworked employee but a life-changer for anyone navigating a physical or psychological limitation.

Automation technology and machine learning offer increased independence and autonomy, from simplifying overly complicated instructions using Chat GPT to creating physical access to go through a door or turn on a light.

Smart home systems that enable environmental control like Govee to assistive robotics that aid with daily tasks like Google Assistant and Alexa, or smart appliances like smart thermostats and washers that keep water costs down and make changing settings accessible through a smartphone or tablet. Even entertainment with smart TVs or automation systems that let you turn on a show with a string of a few words create access where abled body people often see luxury.

If we understand that automation and machine learning are matters of disability access, then we know that reliable maintenance of these technologies is crucial to guarantee their uninterrupted functionality. Ensuring that companies provide timely updates, bug fixes, and compatibility enhancements can empower individuals with disabilities to live more independently.

Workplace Accessibility

Automation is transforming the modern workplace, with technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and adaptive software systems streamlining tasks and workflows. CRMs are using it, project management software is using it, and even your Gmail is jumping on the bandwagon.

Having repetitive tasks managed through automation saves time and energy, but for disabled folks, it also holds what we call "Spoons." Very simply, Spoon Theory refers to energy limitations that sometimes result from living with chronic illness. Factor in the US CDC states 6 out of 10 Americans live with at least one chronic disease, and suddenly conserving spoons is widely essential in a country where it's not a matter of if but when we'll start experiencing some form of chronic illness limitations.

So, if spoons are energy, imagine that life bar on your favorite video games. We all have our own HP points. Some have more, some have less, and people with chronic illnesses sometimes recharge at different rates than their abled-bodied coworkers and sometimes have different energy spans from day to day. However, this doesn't mean people with disabilities don't have an impact.

Automation can take a lot off a disabled worker's plate and allow them to focus their energy on tasks that require their expertise and perspectives. By prioritizing reliable maintenance, technology companies enable employees with disabilities to participate in the workforce fully and even make game-changing contributions. Regular updates to accessibility features, compatibility with assistive devices, and addressing any barriers that may arise during system updates or changes matter to 133 million people in the US alone.

Assistive Technology Integration

Automation and assistive technologies often go hand in hand to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. These technologies, from voice-controlled home automation systems to smart locks and even video messaging, rely on seamless integration and interoperability. Companies developing automation need to collaborate with assistive technology manufacturers to ensure their products work harmoniously and reliably to maximize accessibility and usability for users with disabilities.

When your automation stops working effectively, it stops being a matter of convincing and transforms into an accessibility issue.

The Ethical Imperative

Reliable maintenance of automation systems for disability access is a matter of compliance and an ethical imperative. Technology companies must recognize, therefore, the societal impact of their creations and embrace their responsibility to provide equitable access that does not take advantage of the communities utilizing their tools. It is, therefore, not a matter of trivial grievance but a statement of urgency that large and small companies prioritize accessibility and proactive maintenance to avoid problems and service interruptions before they start. Companies can help dismantle barriers and create an inclusive future by understanding the impact of these resources on millions of US citizens and billions of global citizens worldwide.

Summing it Up...

Automation holds immense potential to transform industries and improve the lives of individuals with and without disabilities. Still, this goal needs reliable maintenance by technology companies to ensure reliance is not futile and remains cost-effective. Automated and other machine learning resources are not a luxury but a matter of access for those with physical and psychological differences. By incorporating accessibility considerations, enhancing workplace accessibility, integrating assistive technologies, and recognizing the ethical imperative, companies can ensure that automation remains a force for inclusivity and empowerment. Together, let us build a future where automation benefits everyone, regardless of their abilities.