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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