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Announcing Sight Tech Global, an event on the future of AI and accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired

Few challenges have elicited technologists more than building tools to help people who are blind or visually impaired. It was Silicon Valley legend Ray Kurzweil, for example, who in 1976 propelled the first commercially available text-to-speech reading device. He launched the $50,000 Kurzweil Reading Machine, a boxy design that plowed a tabletop, at a press conference hosted by the National Federation of the Blind.

The early use of Kurzweil and many others has ruffled across the commerce and technology world in stunning practices. Today’s equivalent of Kurzweil’s machine is Microsoft’s Seeing AI app, which consumes AI-based portrait recognition to “see” and “read” in ways that Kurzweil could only have dreamed of. And it’s free to anyone who knows a mobile phone.

Remarkable leaps forward like that are the foundation for Sight Tech Global, a brand-new, virtual happening slated for Dec 2-3, that will bring together many of the world’s top engineering and accessibility professionals to discuss how rapid advances in AI and referred engineerings will shape assistive engineering and accessibility in the years ahead.

The technologies behind Microsoft’s Seeing AI are on the same evolutionary tree as the ones that enable cars to be autonomous and robots to interact safely with humen. Much of our most advanced technology today stems from that early, challenging mission that top Silicon Valley technologists cuddled to learn machines to “see” on behalf of humans.

From the standpoint of people who suffer vision loss, the technology available today is astonishing, far beyond what anyone predicted even ten years ago. Purpose-built commodities like Seeing AI and computer screen books like JAWS are remarkable tools. At the same time, consumer products including mobile phones, planning apps, and smart articulation assistants are play changers for everyone, those with view loss not the least. And hitherto, that tech bonanza has not come close to breaking down the barriers in the lives of people who still mostly navigate with canes or bird-dogs or sighted assistance, depend on haphazard compliance with accessibility standards to use websites, and can feel as isolated as ever in a office full of beings.

A computer can drive a car at 70 MPH without human assistance but there is not yet any equivalent device to help a blind being gait down a sidewalk at 3 MPH.

In other statements, we live in a world where a computer can drive a car at 70 MPH without human assistance but there is not yet any analogous device to help a blind being stroll down a sidewalk at 3 MPH. A social media site can identify billions of beings in an instant but a blind person can’t readily identify the person standing in front of them. Today’s potent technologies, many of them grounded in AI, have yet to be milled into next-generation tools that are truly beneficial, freely espoused and widely affordable. The work is underway at large-scale tech corporations like Apple and Microsoft, at startups, and in university labs, but no one would dispute that the work is as hinder because it is difficult. People who are blind or visually impaired live in a world where, as the science fiction author William Gibson once noted, “The future is already here — it’s just not awfully evenly distributed.”

That state of affairs is the inspiration for Sight Tech Global. The occurrence will gather the top technologists, human-computer interaction consultants, product designers, researchers, industrialists and proponents to discuss the future of assistive engineering as well as accessibility in general. Many of those experts and technologists are blind or visually impaired, and the happen programme will stand firmly on the sand that no discussion or brand-new make growth is meaningful without the direct involvement of that community. Silicon Valley has great technologies but does not, on its own, have the answers.

The two days of programming on the virtual central place will be free and is accessible on a world basis both live and on-demand. There will also has become a $ 25 Pro Pass for those who want to participate in specialized breakout periods, Q& A with talkers, and virtual networking. Registration for the appearance opens soon; in the meantime anyone interested may request email updates here.

It’s important to note that there are many excellent occasions each year that focus on accessibility, and we respect their many biding contributions and continuous commitment. Sight Tech Global aims to complement the existing event line-up by concentrates on hard a matter of advanced technologies and the products and experiences they will drive in the years ahead- presupposing they are developed hand-in-hand with their intended recipient and with affordability, training and other social causes in spirit.

In numerous respects, Sight Tech Global is taking a page from TechCrunch’s approach to its AI and robotics happenings over the past four years, which were in partnership with MIT and UC Berkeley. The conception was to have TechCrunch writers ask top professionals in AI and related matter tough questions across the full spectrum of issues around these powerful technologies, from the promise of automation and machine autonomy to the downsides of job elimination and bias in AI-based organizations. TechCrunch’s editors will be a part of this prove, together with other expert moderators.

As the founder of Sight Tech Global, I am attracting on my thorough affair know at TechCrunch over eight years to produce this event. Both TechCrunch and its parent fellowship, Verizon Media, are lending a hand in important rooms. My own connection to the community is through my bride, Joan Desmond, who is legally blind.

The follows from sponsorships and ticket auctions will go to the non-profit Vista Center for Blind and Visually Impaired, which has been helping Silicon Valley region for 75 times. The Vista Center owns the Sight Tech Global event and its executive director, Karae Lisle is the event’s chair. We have assembled a highly knew crew of voluntaries to curriculum and induce a rich, world-class virtual affair on December 2-3.

Sponsors are welcome, and we have opportunities available ranging from branding support to content integration. Please email sponsor @sighttechglobal. com for more information.

Our programme work is under way and we will announce loudspeakers and periods over the coming weeks. The programming committee includes Jim Fruchterman( Benetech/ TechMatters) Larry Goldberg( Verizon Media ), Matt King( Facebook) and Professor Roberto Manduchi( UC Santa Cruz ). We welcome new ideas and can be reached via programming @sighttechglobal. com

For general research, including collaborations on promoting the event, please contact info @sighttechglobal. com.

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