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Gamers are using their voice to overcome accessibility problems
By 2023, there could be over three billion gamers worldwide. But for some people with disabilities, taking part in this wildly popular passion can be frustrating to impossible. Now, one piece of tech is out to make slaying dragons and building civilizations accessible to all. Will it change the future of gaming?
The AI-powered voice of a generation’s gamers<p>Since the world's first video game 'Pong' appeared in 1958, gaming has evolved in ways never imagined. But game accessibility is still a problem for as many as 30 million people in the US, because they have an impairment that means they come up against accessibility barriers when gaming. </p><p><a href="https://hellofridai.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Fridai</a> is changing all that. The voice-activated, AI-powered assistant gives advice on anything gamers with disabilities may need, from hands-free options to being reminded of the game's objective. In Defenders of Digital series two, episode four, Mark Engelhardt, Fridai's Co-founder and CEO, talks about how the technology uses AI to create a new interface between humans and machines.</p>
Chicago's tiny not-for-profit taking on powerful institutions.
The history of surveillance is one of control. As monitoring technologies accelerate, one not-for-profit noticed a concerning rise in unethical police cell phone observation. Their objections led to new, stronger digital rights legislation.
Stingrays and cell phones: Is your pocket private?<p>Smartphones have improved our lives more than we could have imagined. We work on them, use them to take and store private photos and they know where we are at any moment. But with advanced surveillance techniques, phones have become a powerful way for law enforcement to observe and identify us, ethically or not.</p><p>One Chicago not-for-profit, <a href="https://lucyparsonslabs.com/" target="_blank">Lucy Parsons Labs</a>, is demanding government agencies like the police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be more transparent about how and why they track people through their phones. Defenders of Digital episode three speaks with Lucy Parsons Labs' Executive Director Freddy Martinez about how law enforcement use technologies to covertly observe people, what it means for digital rights and how his team made US legal history.</p>
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Stories about those who make sure that our connected life is secure and free
Everything that is connected to the internet can be hacked. Social media have become a battleground for political influencing and populism. Fake news are everywhere. Digital freedom is under scrutiny. Artificial Intelligence is out of control. Big tech companies own the world.
That all sounds dire.
And while it all is partially true, it also isn't. As with everything in life: when humans interact, there will be frictions. Not everybody has good intentions. So we have to be vigilant, and we need guardians, protectors, heroes or just ordinary people with a good sense for what is right or wrong.
The smallest things can have a massive impact. A young man registers a domain and shuts down a global cyber attack. A sports star kneels and provokes a national discussion about values. A power outage in the middle of nowhere disconnects millions of people from the internet – and an electrician saves the day. A retired policeman stops someone from taking money from an ATM and thus delivers the crucial clue to halt a global ring of digital bank robbers.
We all can be heroes and can be forgotten the next day. This section tells stories of average people saving our digital world. By creating policies, by maintaining infrastructure, by stopping criminals and by protecting children. These are stories of you and me — the real heroes of today – the guardians of the digital world.
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