Discuss POV: Freedom Machines

Comment on this post to discuss the video we watched today. What interested, impressed, or depressed you about the video. With which characters did you identify?

17 Responses to “Discuss POV: Freedom Machines”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Probably the most interesting part of the entire video was seeing the young girl who was off to college. It was kind of crazy to see someone in the same situation, but with so many more issues to have to deal with. It was very interesting to see how she lived as a normal student with her assistant, who seemed to be one of her best friends. I was definitly taken a back by the lady with two kids who couldn’t find a decent job. It was very disheartening to know she has received a BS degree and still couldn’t get a job, just because she was blind! I also found it very troubling that the older woman really didn’t see herself as a normal person. She described herself at parties as someone who was a “dummy” that couldn’t talk to others. It’s tough to know that a disability can really alter your mind and make you feel that you really don’t belong on this world. It’s also troublesome why the government hasn’t done more to help these people.

  2. Shelby Says:

    I want to begin by pointing out the amount of determination and perseverance that all the people in the video “Freedom Machines” had. Despite the constant battle they faced in being oppressed by society, they continued to pursue all their dreams and goals. I was terrified on my first day of college, but I can’t begin to imagine having to go to school unsure of its accessibility in meeting my personal needs. I would also like to commend the girl who aspires to translate Operas into Polish. With her mom’s help, they continued to fight the school system, arguing for an equal opportunity to learn. Despite the challenges she faces at school she continues to go every day, to reach her goals.

  3. Taylor Says:

    I agree with what Shelby said. The video portrayed all of the people as energetic and excited individuals. It is hard to believe that when we were born, there were no such laws saying that people with wheelchairs or the blind were not to have easy access in a public location like a court house or a school. The video really opened my eyes to the lives of these people and furthered my interest in the course. I cannot wait till we begin formulating ideas on how our class can help make everyone’s daily lives operate more smoothly.

  4. Emma Says:

    Like others have said, the patience these people have to get through the routines so many of us take for granted is amazing to me. It will take me 2 minutes to type this comment, and I am truly impressed with the perseverance of those who would spend 20 minutes to do the same. It seems that people with disabilities could easily become consumed by the difficulties they have doing day to day work and eventually fade into a basic and bland existence; but, as the video proved, there are countless people who will not take that as an option. One thing that got to me: a mother of one of the girls was saying she remembered having to fight for the breaks in the curbs of sidewalks. It’s disgusting that we are so hesitant and unwilling to make such minimal provisions for people who really need it. I realized more fully through this video how true it is that the majority (not disabled) looks down on the minority (disabled) as a group that has nothing to contribute and is just a burden on society. From the man who has no use of any of his limbs but found a way to get a job helping others to the girl who dreams of writing a Polish opera even though she has a hard time dialing the numbers on a telephone, it is blatantly obvious that these are people with just as much to offer as we as a society will allow them.

  5. Alyssa Says:

    As others have said this movie really was an eye opener to things that we may not have been aware of before. I think this film did a good job at displaying to us what it really is that people with disabilities have to handle every day. It really touched me how we can get so frustrated when the computer deletes an assignment we are working on, but the patience (as Em ma said) especially in the girl who is attending college is unbelievable. The typing program that she uses seems to hear more words wrong then right and to have the patience to go back and fix every single one is a type of patience that not many people have. Also it showed me that we may take the little things in life for granted (such as dialing a phone) where as for the young girl dialing the phone was a major accomplishment. As Taylor said it is going to very neat to work hands on to make the impact that we can.

  6. john Says:

    The video was very eye-opening, but it also made me feel very uneasy. I felt like I was somehow the bad guy for not being handicaped in some way. It made the problems in my life seem very insignificant and trivial. The physicist was who I most identified with, because he was able to rise to become head of the S.E.T.I. institute,despite being blind. Most people without physical disablities would be unable to do that. His story provides a becon of hope and successful for those struggling with handicaps.

  7. Katelyn Says:

    The movie made me realize how fortunate we all are to not have to struggle with not only a disability but the discrimination that goes along with it. I felt sorry worry the blind woman with two kids who couldn’t get a job in teaching despite the fact that she had a BS degree in the subject. The girl who was just entering college was also amazing. I had surgery a couple months ago and had to be in a wheelchair for a week, and it was extremely difficult to get around places such as a grocery store or the mall. Simple tasks like getting food off the shelf or trying to pay for a shirt at the counter were struggles that never even crossed my mind as being problems to the disabled beforehand. I have immense respect for anyone with any type of handicap and can’t wait to help them through this class.

  8. Brad Says:

    That video really openned my eyes to the life and struggle of people with disabilities. Obviously i only shows half of what they go through, but it definately left an inpression. The girl going off to college made me realize how fortunate i am being fully able, but also made me appreciate and respect her more as at times i simply have a paper cut and i make it a big deal using it as an excuse for procrastinating. It is unfortunate that the technology available is so expensive and not readily available for the people who need it to access. What really impressed me though was the fight and the determination of those featured in the video to adapt to the environment and to not let their disability hinder them from acheiving their goals.

  9. Michele Says:

    I agree with everyone. I can’t stop thinking about the young girl who just went off to college either. These past couple of days whenever I find myself annoyed with a class or frustrated with a roommate, I think or her and how insignificant my problems are with moving into college. She is dealing with everything I am, and then a whole lot more. I really like what Emma said too. Its hard to believe that it will take me less then 5 minutes to type this comment, but if i was the other young girl with the disablilty it would take me so much longer. I can not imagine the amount of patience she must have. I get frustrated with myself when I continually have to hit backspace, but that is so insignificant compared to the tremendous errors the computer produces for her. I feel like with new technology coming out for the “abled” people, like voice recognition and fingerprint readers, how can we not have any better technology that picks up human voices? If i had the opportunity, i also think it would be really cool to change the audio voices on the computers. All the audio software the people in the movie were using just sounded so robotic and unwelcoming. It would be cool if somehow new technology was developed to make the speech flow more consistently and smoothly.

  10. Luke Says:

    After watching that video (which was very well made, I might add) and reading what John said, I was finally able to put into words what I think I’m beginning to understand. John made the statement, “he was able to become the head of the SETI institute, despite being blind. Most people without physical disabilities would be unable to do that.” Maybe a person with a motor disability can’t go up a set of stairs the way the 21 of us do, but they can certainly solve a math problem exactly the same way. Likewise, maybe someone without vision can’t “see” the world the way we do, but they see the world through a lens that we will never be able to grasp. Like the physicist who used his gift of understanding sound, so many people with a disability in one area have so much unique understanding to offer. For myself, maybe not as much as society as a whole, I realize that I’ve fallen short of valuing these people as such. Here is somewhere I believe we can all, myself especially, do more, and do it better.

  11. RJ Says:

    Along with most of the above posts, I definitely felt a strong connection with the girl who was beginning college, but at the same time it reminded me that I have NO hardships to deal with as compared to many other individuals. Sometimes we all complain about little ‘inconveniences’ in life, but I think I speak for most of the class when I say that “we have it good.”
    As for the technology aspect of the video, it brought to light a very unbecoming concept. Almost everything that has ever been invented has been firstly intended for the ‘normal’ consumer and unfortunately the ‘disabled’ consumer is forced to wait for technology to be created and/or adapted to fit their lifestyles. I understand that it takes time, expertise, money, and resources to develop adaptive technologies, but I still believe that our country should do more as a whole to address the issue of accessibility of products and technologies. Whether it be our government, our major industries, or the grassroots salespeople, I believe more can be done to help those with disabilities and there is no question that it should be done.
    On a side note, I also found it very heartening to see that the man who was in the car wreck and became a quadriplegic was encouraging other individuals with the same condition to get out on their own and live their lives to their fullest, without 24/7 assisted living care.

  12. maria Says:

    I loved this movie. It was sad that all these people had disabilities that they had to live with every day of their life, but it made me so happy to learn about all of the technology that people have created to help people live a normal life. The girl who was in the wheel chair and went to college impressed me the most. She loved life and she lived it to the fullest. She had determination to go to college and I respect her very much for that. I think about her using her computer when she spoke to the program and it would type the words for her and how much patience that must take. Then i think about myself and how i get annoyed when my internet in granville wont work and i have to restart my computer. This movie made me look at my life and how i act towards people and certain situations, and it has made me have more patience with things i cannot control. I should be just as thankful for the capabilities that i have as a student as the young girl in the wheelchair was. Thank you for showing us this video. It has definately made an impact on me.

  13. Kelly Says:

    “POV: Freedom Machines” was an insightful, if incomplete investigation of technology and its liberating effects. As many others have noted, I naturally related to the college student, but what shocked me most about the documentary were the many struggles encountered in securing helpful technology. After doing some research, I learned that a license for the JAWS screen-reading software will set you back nearly $900—why? Where is the competition in our capitalistic society? Why has such a potentially profitable (both economically and emotionally) niche been neglected? Walking the aisles of any given technology store, I can find state-of-the-art software that appeals to only one-half of one percent, but screen-reading software that could benefit anyone from grandparents with poor vision to children just learning to read is nowhere to be found. Personally, I would like to have heard a manufacturer’s response to the apparent neglect of such a feasible market.

  14. ronald Says:

    One thing that really stood out to me in the film is that despite every characters “disability” they were all motivated to learn. I found this to be extremely encouraging and inspiring; it truly made me appreciate my education. Along those lines, I also noticed that they didn’t limit their aspirations. It really surprised me that one of the girls in the video wants to be a translator for the UN. She also wanted to read books in Slavic languages. I also think the guy who was quadriplegic was remarkable. Regardless of his condition he went back to college and got an education. After his accident he decided to see his “disability” as a blessing, and he helped other with his condition go back to school, get an education and find jobs. The woman who was blind also was extraordinary because she wasn’t discouraged by her “disability,” and didn’t limit herself. She was involved at her church, she hosted a radio station, and she insisted on helping other people who were blind.
    I found the most moving part of the video to be when the girl who was going to college had to say bye to her mom. I was able to identify most with her because I too just recently have to go through that. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially when you rely on your parents often, like both she and I do.

  15. Sean Margison Says:

    I have not personally had a disability which severely limited my daily activities (knock on wood), but I have met many people who have. One thing I have learned, which is reinforced through the video, is that people with some sort of ‘handicap’, as one mentioned, are not so much discouraged by their ‘problem’ but rather by the limitations and the label associated with ‘them’. For me the most astounding moment in the video came when the disabled stormed Washington to earn rights. The fact that they had been so neglected and left out that they felt the need to have to make such a statement is downright appalling. Today, it hasn’t even improved much…sure there is braille on more and more entrances, and there are curbed sidewalks, but the technology has not changed much. The technology expansion, when dealing with disabilities, is at an alarmingly slow progression. The video showed a program which utilized video and a program to execute commands…today, a gaming console camera is more sophisticated (for $50), than some ‘high tech’ disability camera’s that do the exact same thing, and sometimes less (>$200). I think this video made a valid point in pointing out the simplicity of the technology (even though it was praising what it was mentioning). One of the mothers of the disabled children mentioned that [it's like they don't care about the disabled moving ahead or learning, but helping those who are able to succeed beyond]. This is evident in technology today…Microsoft is a major conglomerate/monopoly and yet their programs designed to help the disabled are half (insert word here)ed and incomplete and STILL do NOT meet the total needs of the user (unless you want to spend a fortune on addons/upgrades/new programs). In other words, this video helped to open my eyes to the problems associated with the disability market inflating and the lack of attention to useful programs…I hope this class will be able to make some kind of dent in this currently limited field.

  16. ebstone Says:

    This movie really struck a chord with me. I’ve never really thought about the idea of being disabled, but I now have a whole new outlook on the possibility. Beforehand, I always just felt pity for those that were termed as being “disabled.” Now, though, I feel a sort of injustice. Why are those that are already seemingly disadvantaged overlooked? For example, why can a blind woman not get a job teaching braille reading? She is as qualified as others, perhaps even more. However, people tend to look at the disabilities of a person, rather than there abilities.
    This also brings up the point of the expenses disabled people face. Most, already near poverty level due to unemployment, come upon unbelievable prices for technology to actually help them. On the other hand, there are millions of items that sell at extremely lower prices, despite using new technology. The worst part is, they have no use whatsoever. This lack of consideration needs a change or, at least, a solution to help the disabled acquire said technology.

  17. rainierw Says:

    I was really impressed by the amount of patience exhibited by the girl who was attending college despite her disability while using that program that wrote her words as she dictated them. I tried using that technology once when AOL offered it and was immediately frustrated by how many times it thought I said something else or didn’t recognize the word or couldn’t hear me speaking. I realized how much I take for granted while watching this video. I never learned how to type correctly on a computer but I type very fast and often help my mom write e-mails because she is still so slow with typing. I get frustrated even doing my mom this favor because the process is so slow. I could not imagine having a disability that prevented me from being able to type. Especially nowadays with everything being on-line, especially at colleges who use websites like Blackboard. I really admired the patience and gratitude that girl had for the technology she was able to use. I was really upset when the blind woman was refused a job teaching braille at that school. The people who interviewed her had such a disdainful attitude towards her. I think it makes perfect sense for someone with a disability to teach others how to deal with it. People with disabilities should be given a chance to have jobs so they can support themselves and buy more advanced technology to better enable themselves.

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