Google’s Project Euphonia helps disabled people communicate
ALSO, Five Weeks of Mayhem, Pain &Drug Withdrawal
(Picking up the pieces)
JOHN HOPPIN: Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Season Three, Episode 10: Disability Technology.
Coming up, Google’s Project Euphonia helps disabled people communicate. I have five weeks of mayhem, hell, pain, and drug withdrawal. I’m not kidding. It blew up my life. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast. My name is John. I’m 40 years old, husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster, and I have multiple sclerosis. I made this podcast to share what I’m going through. Past episodes can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, or from whatsthematterwithme.org, or wherever you get it. I’m not a medical professional. Don’t take this for medical advice, and if you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.
Crazy five weeks of mayhem. Let’s get into it. Pain and drug withdrawal. Ouch. But first, let’s recap.
Last episode, Happy Birthday Koko, the whole episode while I was saying it was being filmed by some people trying to make a movie about it, they’re gone and it’s over. They aren’t here anymore. It was a complaining episode. I complained about being in pain, but also discussed being in nature, communing with nature as a pain control method. It’s patented. That’s my patented method. I talk about the Salt Fat Acid Heat show. I get the name wrong a lot, but I gave that lady an idea. She should do one about butter. I would watch … I watched the other one really. I guess she could do one about whatever she wants. It was the day before Koko’s birthday. Check it out. Happy Birthday Koko on Apple Podcasts and whatsthematterwithme.org.
All right. Let’s get into it. Google’s Project Euphonia, disabled tech, disabled technology. It’s going to help disable people speak and interact with voice interactive devices.
You know, there’s a problem. Disabled people are different. They talk different. So the machines in the house, the Alexa or I don’t know what they all are. I have this thing. I just go in a room and yell, “Okay Google,” and it talks. Google Home, I guess, or Google Assistant. Whatever. Anything, Siri, all that stuff, it doesn’t understand you because you talk different when you’re disabled. So you need some solution here, and Google’s Project Euphonia is a way that they’re trying to bring some sort of solution.
I kind of like cribbed here from an article on theverge.com. Let me give credit where credit is due to James Vincent. May 7th, 2019, Google’s Project Euphonia Helps Make Speech Technology More Accessible to People With Disabilities: Improving Speech Recognition Software for People with Voice Impairments. It’s basically saying the biggest focus of Euphonia will be collecting more voice data from people with impaired speech. This is intended to remedy the problem of AI bias created by limited training data.
That just means there’s not enough recording of disabled people trying to talk, and so they need what they’re calling training data, limited training data. That means they don’t have any recordings. So they’re trying to get people to volunteer, but this brings up an idea of bias in artificial intelligence. This is an example of bias in AI. There’s limited training data of people talking who are disabled. So this is a cool project, Project Euphonia. Then furthermore, I’ll go down … In addition, the company is working on new interactive AI systems that recognize actions like gestures and facial expressions. So you can just kind of move. People who can’t talk or disabled people who are different, maybe they don’t want to start talking in a crowded place and have all these people be like, “Oh, look at that.” You know? This can help.
So it’s called Live Relay and it’s supposed to understand gestures, your finger or your hand moving in a certain direction or way, over or near the controller. Which can your phone, a tablet, a computer. You know, it can be a lot of different things and that’s what’s cool about this. It’s beyond mobile phones for disabled people. It’s all new technology for disabled people because all of a sudden, they can be understood by voice interactive devices. That means they could do anything. They could use their voice on the internet. They could call a car. They can search and participate in society. That’s the idea here, and it’s kind of a great one. Here, there’s a good quote. “Fundamental AI research which enables new products for people with disabilities is an important way we drive our mission forward. These projects will ultimately result in products that work better for all of us. It’s the perfect example of what we mean by building a more helpful Google for everyone.” That’s Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai.
So word up. Kicking knowledge. So that’s going to help speaking, obviously speaking devices for the disabled. Overall, it’s going to provide disability help, and it’s going to be bringing disabled people phones, connectivity. It could even, I think it could provide work. I mean, come on. If you can’t be understood, now this is going to help immensely. It’s going to contribute to work for people with disabilities. It’s a big step forward in technology and disability. One cool thing is I found out about it via the r/disability subreddit. Finally, I figured out what you do on Reddit is you find out about stuff. That was cool. Shout-outs to the r/disability subreddit. Do you just call that the disability subreddit? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I don’t know these things.
“IT WAS THE MOST PAINFUL IT HAS EVER BEEN.”
So like I said, five weeks of mayhem. It’s been kind of tough so let me just dive in. You know, I said last episode I was in a lot of pain. I was in trigeminal neuralgia pain since Mother’s Day. From Mother’s Day to June 9th, 11th, somewhere around there. It included a really super painful MRI, which was hellacious. I got shoved in a tube and then I started having trigeminal neuralgia for 45 minutes while I’m in deafening noise and super pain. It was crazy. So I wrote this card. It’s kind of intense. I’ll just lay it on you. I was trying to summarize trigeminal neuralgia, the experience I had from mid-May to mid-June.
“It was the most painful it has ever been. I woke up in great pain and I went to sleep the same way, waking several times each night. During the day I hid in the dark. I was sensitive to noise also, couldn’t be around the kids. My doctor doubled my medication after blood work showed I had adapted to it. At that point it was time to reduce other medications because now it’s double.” Unfortunately, it’s going to take us into our next segment.
Drug withdrawal, medication changes, tapering, titration, withdrawal, drug withdrawal symptoms, signs of withdrawal.
The definition of drug withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur upon the abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of medications or recreational drugs. We’re talking medication. The doctor gave me a plan. I was on nine pills at the time. I went down to six one week, and three the next. I thought it made sense to me. So I went down to six. Everything was actually good. I felt good because I was on too much pills, so I was feeling kind of drugged. So I went down to six, I felt good for a couple days. Then I had like the worst hangover I ever had. I tried to have a margarita at the place, but it didn’t take the edge off at all. I’m like, “What’s going on?” I felt horrible. Next day I felt horrible again, like super hungover. My nose was running. That was weird. I felt super nauseated, really nauseated. Headache, really bad. Man, bad.
What ended up … I called the nurse. I was like, “What’s going on? Why am I so hungover?” They were like, “You’re having drug withdrawal.” I described my symptoms to them. Nausea, headache, and runny nose, and like feeling very … like New Year’s Day and I’m 22 years old, like I came to party on New Year’s. You know what I mean? I felt so bad. It was drug withdrawal. Those were the kind of symptoms I had. So they put me back up a little and they gave me an easier plan. She said, “Go back up to eight pills, and then next week go to seven. The week after that, six.” So I felt pretty awful. There was all kind … I was throwing up, man. It was serious. I couldn’t do anything for a week. So then, you know, I’m feeling kind of better. I took the kids to school today for the first time. That was great. But man, drug withdrawal is a mother. You know? I think that’s how you would say that. Not like a mom. Like it’s a mother. A real mother for you.
Man, don’t do drugs. That’s a bad idea. It was bad. So check this out.
www.facebook.com/wtmwm is the address. That’s the What’s The Matter With Me? Facebook page. You got to like it. You got to share it. You got to get the tattoo. Facebook updates, I put updates on there that provide interim news between episodes. You can also see cool pictures of stuff like my red shoes, my computer desk, and some scribble-scrabble notes. You can send me long fan letters there. Check it out, the What’s The Matter With Me? page. There’s even a What’s The Matter With Me? discovery zone. So, I mean, I do things.
You got to get the tattoo. Facebook updates, I put updates on there that provide interim news between episodes. You can also see cool pictures of stuff like my red shoes, my computer desk, and some scribble-scrabble notes. You can send me long fan letters there. Check it out, the What’s The Matter With Me? page. There’s even a What’s The Matter With Me? discovery zone. So, I mean, I do things.
Thank you for listening to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast. Past episodes can be downloaded at Apple Podcasts, whatsthematterwithme.org, or wherever you get it, wherever podcasts are available. Shout-outs to the worldwide universal sponsor of the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, Hoppin Hot Sauce. (singing) Yeah. Hoppin Hot Sauce is a movement. I’m telling you, check it out, hoppinhotsauce.com. Thank you for listening to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Season Three, Episode 10: Disability Technology.