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Coverage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning within Academic Literature, Canadian Newspapers, and Twitter Tweets: The Case of Disabled People

Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N4N1, Canada
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Societies 2020, 10(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc10010023
Received: 3 February 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 24 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) advancements increasingly impact society and AI/ML ethics and governance discourses have emerged. Various countries have established AI/ML strategies. “AI for good” and “AI for social good” are just two discourses that focus on using AI/ML in a positive way. Disabled people are impacted by AI/ML in many ways such as potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic users of AI/ML advanced products and processes and by the changing societal parameters enabled by AI/ML advancements. They are impacted by AI/ML ethics and governance discussions and discussions around the use of AI/ML for good and social good. Using identity, role, and stakeholder theories as our lenses, the aim of our scoping review is to identify and analyze to what extent, and how, AI/ML focused academic literature, Canadian newspapers, and Twitter tweets engage with disabled people. Performing manifest coding of the presence of the terms “AI”, or “artificial intelligence” or “machine learning” in conjunction with the term “patient”, or “disabled people” or “people with disabilities” we found that the term “patient” was used 20 times more than the terms “disabled people” and “people with disabilities” together to identify disabled people within the AI/ML literature covered. As to the downloaded 1540 academic abstracts, 234 full-text Canadian English language newspaper articles and 2879 tweets containing at least one of 58 terms used to depict disabled people (excluding the term patient) and the three AI terms, we found that health was one major focus, that the social good/for good discourse was not mentioned in relation to disabled people, that the tone of AI/ML coverage was mostly techno-optimistic and that disabled people were mostly engaged with in their role of being therapeutic or non-therapeutic users of AI/ML influenced products. Problems with AI/ML were mentioned in relation to the user having a bodily problem, the usability of AI/ML influenced technologies, and problems disabled people face accessing such technologies. Problems caused for disabled people by AI/ML advancements, such as changing occupational landscapes, were not mentioned. Disabled people were not covered as knowledge producers or influencers of AI/ML discourses including AI/ML governance and ethics discourses. Our findings suggest that AI/ML coverage must change, if disabled people are to become meaningful contributors to, and beneficiaries of, discussions around AI/ML. View Full-Text
Keywords: disabled people; people with disabilities; artificial intelligence; machine learning; scoping review; social good; for good disabled people; people with disabilities; artificial intelligence; machine learning; scoping review; social good; for good
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Lillywhite, A.; Wolbring, G. Coverage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning within Academic Literature, Canadian Newspapers, and Twitter Tweets: The Case of Disabled People. Societies 2020, 10, 23.

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