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Automating ableism

Illustration of a broken crutch made out of code.
Illustration by Erik Carter

In December, the US Census proposed changes to how it categorizes disability. If implemented, the changes would have slashed the number of Americans who are counted as disabled, when experts say that disabled people are already undercounted.

The Census opened its proposal to public comment; anyone can submit a comment on a federal agency rulemaking on their own. But in this specific case, the people who were most affected by the proposal had more obstacles in the way of giving their input.

“It was really important to me to try to figure out how to enable those folks as best I could to be able to write and submit a comment,” said Matthew Cortland, a senior fellow at Data for Progress. With that in mind, they created a GPT-4 bot…

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