The Pulse

Host Dave Brown along with guest contributors brings us closer to issues currently impacting the disabled community across Canada and the world. Listen weekdays at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On The Pulse

Welcome to On The Pulse, a space where our host, Dave Brown, reflects on topics discussed during the show and place to get more information about resources discussed. 

How attached are you to your cell phone?

A young male student uses his cell phone in class while others around him are studying.

On today’s show we talked about our addiction to cell phones with Dr. Peter Reiner of the University of British Columbia.

Phones are as much a work tool as a social toy, and are also an adaptive device. My phone is always within arms reach.

When my old phone died in October, I almost went into a panic. Where were my contacts? How was I going to reach out to people? How could I even get work done? What was I going to use for an alarm clock? It seems almost absurd, but I need my phone to live daily life. And that’s pretty much the definition of addiction.

There are social impacts for sure, but it was interesting to hear Dr. Reiner outline the cognitive risks as well. Our devices can literally change the way our brains develop. And that is something to be extra conscious of.

To learn more about today’s subject, read this article about smartphone addiction. 

And, to read about the cognitive impacts of these mobile devices, visit the two links below.

http://www.nature.com/articles/531S9a

https://www.centreforbrainhealth.ca/news/2016/03/05/smartphones-need-redesign-improve-brain-function-qa-dr-peter-reiner

 

What is the most revolutionary tech gadget in recent years?

A crowd of people wearing press passes walk in and around an arc that reads CES, Consumer Technology Association. In the background is an empty stage and a large poster of a TV that reads "The Next Innovation In TV."

Today we talked about the highlights from the Consumer Electronics Show with Executive Editor of Engadget.com Dana Wollman.

Dana has gone through a bit of paradigm shift or an enlightenment when it comes to accessible technology.  She’s been on the tech beat for over a decade and in the last few years, she has developed a strong interest in its potential and its impact on people’s lives.  In that enlightenment, she has been understanding more and more what a spectrum assistive devices can cover.

And engadget.com has put their money where their mouth is, featuring the top accessible tech of CES.  In fact in a link below that lists the overall top tech of CES, accessible tech is right at the top of the page.  The fact that these mainstream sites are prioritizing their coverage with an accessible lens just blows me away.

The volume of content, tech, and presentations from CES is overwhelming, so we really appreciated having Dana on to give us the highlights.

To read about the top tech from CES 2018, visit here

And to hear an interview Dana conducted about the importance of Accessible Technology, click here

How can artificial intelligence affect accessibility?

A close up of a man's hand holding a smartphone.

On today’s show we talked about artificial intelligence with the co-founder of Vocalize Chris Maley.

Artificial intelligence devices and voiceover tech are by no means brand new, but I feel like we’ve reached this tipping point where they are being combined and mainstreamed. A year ago, I didn’t know anyone who had an Amazon Echo or Google Home technology. But in the last few months a family members and friends have started to buy into the tech. One friend has gone all out, he literally has his entire living room connected. The lamps, the thermostat, the TV, the speakers, and even his Roomba vacuum are all voice controlled. It blows me away. I never thought I’d have a conversation with a vacuum. They left that part out of Science Fiction movies.

When Chris talked about the extrapolation of the his “Where’s My Bus” and how artificial intelligence will start learning your habits and begin to offer you a series of choices beyond just public transit, I see the potential for this machine thinking to become a personal assistant that could handle all aspects of our lives.

It’s fascinating…and maybe a bit scary. I’ve seen the Terminator. This isn’t exactly how it starts, but I can see similarities.