Protect TV Closed Captions Say NO To Automated Computer Programs!!

Contact FCC.gov and be heard!

Over 48 million Americans are Deaf/deaf or hard of hearing. Captions provide a vital connection to the world at large by providing equal access to an act so common many of us don't think twice about: watching television.

The Americans with Disabilites Act, the FCC, and society at large have all deemed captions a necessity for decades now. Captions can be used for casually watching a show, a live sporting event, or a dire weather warning for hurricane evacuations, landslides, massive flooding, an active shooter, the list goes on.

The captioning industry was born out of court reporting, a highly trained skill set that has been used since the early 1900's and often times referred as "guardians of the record." Stenographic captioners are human and understand both logically and emotionally the need for accountability, continued training, the ability to self correct, deal with multiple speakers and ambient noises, regional accents, similar sounding words, etc. (As do highly skilled human voice writers.)

Please sign this petition letting the FCC know this is their moment to draw a line in the sand. Captions of live TV are too important to experiment with or try new technologies we hope will work. Computerized automated captions have already hit the market, IBM Watson is claiming their system is "self-learning and corrective" and the first days of use have proved to be disappointing at best. IBM Watson and any other computerized captions that preclude highly trained human captioners are unacceptable. We must stand up for captions! Would we allow a Watson powered computer-driven car to hit the roads and be "self-learning" and hope for the best?

Watson is claiming a lot of things, but the roll out has been widely condemned on social media for horrible captions. With poor results thus far, no white paper, research studies, proof of concept, or long-term information to show they can hold a candle to current, human-made captions, (None that have been shared publicly at least.) they want the consumer to hang in there, hope for the best and get what they get with no regard for quality. A computer program will never take the pride and care a professional human captioner will.

Sign this petition, this is a moment for all of us to let our voices be heard and encourage the FCC to uphold and protect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilites Act. 48 plus million Americans deserve more than a computerized, automated, educated guess.

*Tribune media also announced moving to an unspecified auto-caption system as well!  Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media need to be on the FCCs radar!

Join our Facebook group: Closed Caption Quality Club

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