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Brewer: Machine learning improves through collaboration with people with disabilities

Headshot of Robin Brewer with an announcement of her Q&A interview posted on Medium.

Thursday, 01/27/2022

In the world of machine learning (ML), researchers and developers are reckoning with improving user experiences. This is particularly the case for people with disabilities.

The PAIR (People + AI Research) multidisciplinary team at Google interviewed Robin Brewer, assistant professor at the School of Information at University of Michigan, for their Q&A series on Medium. They discussed advances in inclusion and representation in ML development, and what still needs to be addressed.  

It is important that researchers and developers involve and engage with people with disabilities about how they want ML to work for them, Brewer says. These efforts mean that ML is designed with a group, not just for a group. 

During the conversation, Brewer outlines a number of strategies in ML technologies that can lessen biases, represent multiple intersectional identities, maintain privacy, and better represent society as a whole. 

Quote from Robin Brewer: Disability is different from other representations of people because it is a spectrum... We have to learn how to represent people in more holistic ways.


Read Medium's story: “Q&A: Robin Brewer on Machine Learning & Disabilities.”

Learn more about Assistant Professor Robin Brewer.