Paper presented at Assets

I’m very hap­py to have been a part of the work lead­ing up to a paper pre­sent­ed at Assets 2017, the ACM con­fer­ence on Acces­si­ble Com­put­ing. Report­ing on work from a group of us at Microsoft Research, the paper describes an ori­en­ta­tion to our stud­ies with the blind and vision impaired.

Ceci­ly Mor­ri­son, Edward Cutrell, Anu­pa­ma Dharesh­war, Kevin Doher­ty, Anja Thieme, and Alex Tay­lor. 2017. Imag­in­ing Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Appli­ca­tions with Peo­ple with Visu­al Dis­abil­i­ties using Tac­tile Ideation. In Pro­ceed­ings of the 19th Inter­na­tion­al ACM SIGACCESS Con­fer­ence on Com­put­ers and Acces­si­bil­i­ty (ASSETS ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 81–90. DOI.

There has been a surge in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) tech­nolo­gies co-opt­ed by or designed for peo­ple with visu­al dis­abil­i­ties. Researchers and engi­neers have pushed tech­ni­cal bound­aries in areas such as com­put­er vision, nat­ur­al lan­guage pro­cess­ing, loca­tion infer­ence, and wear­able com­put­ing. But what do peo­ple with visu­al dis­abil­i­ties imag­ine as their own tech­no­log­i­cal future? To explore this ques­tion, we devel­oped and car­ried out tac­tile ideation work­shops with par­tic­i­pants in the UK and India. Our par­tic­i­pants gen­er­at­ed a large and diverse set of ideas, most focus­ing on ways to meet needs relat­ed to social inter­ac­tion. In some cas­es, this was a mat­ter of rec­og­niz­ing peo­ple. In oth­er cas­es, they want­ed to be able to par­tic­i­pate in social sit­u­a­tions with­out fore­ground­ing their dis­abil­i­ty. It was strik­ing that this find­ing was con­sis­tent across UK and India despite sub­stan­tial cul­tur­al and infra­struc­tur­al dif­fer­ences. In this paper, we describe a new tech­nique for work­ing with peo­ple with visu­al dis­abil­i­ties to imag­ine new tech­nolo­gies that are tuned to their needs and aspi­ra­tions. Based on our expe­ri­ence with these work­shops, we pro­vide a set of social dimen­sions to con­sid­er in the design of new AI tech­nolo­gies: social par­tic­i­pa­tion, social nav­i­ga­tion, social main­te­nance, and social inde­pen­dence. We offer these social dimen­sions as a start­ing point to fore­front users’ social needs and desires as a more delib­er­ate con­sid­er­a­tion for assis­tive tech­nol­o­gy design.

Down­load a copy of the paper here.

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