The media has a long way to go in harnessing the latest technology to promote inclusivity. That was the conclusion of a panel at a Changemaker session looking at the future of inclusive technology.
Rebecca Matthews, Head of Content Management, ABC, said that part of the problem was the lack of gender equality and inclusivity at the top table in companies where decisions are made.
Soumya Sriraman, President of Streaming, Qurate Retail Group, heading up the group’s streaming commerce business, highlighted the importance of regulation in accelerating captioning in media. “In the US, closed captions are merely gloried subtitles - in the UK it’s much better because of the role of the regulator.”
Matthews highlighted that one problem is keeping the whole population up to speed with technological development. “We are so focused on switching to digital we forget that 4 million people in Australia don’t have access to the internet.”
“We are looking hard to find solutions,” she adding, pointing out that Australia was on the verge of conducting a referendum about including indigenous people in the constitution. “But people who need to be part of the discussion are not part of the conversation because the networks don’t reach to where the are. We have to make sure their voices are heard, and recognise that different groups are at different stages in terms of their access to technology.”
Sriraman added that including customers and consumers in the conversation is part of the way forward. “I’ve had so many meetings with technologists or publishers at IBC where we talk about the needs of the publisher, but at Amazon we always talked about putting the customer at the centre of everything, because that’s where everything begins.”