2019 Boston Accessibility Conference – 11/2 – Register Now!

2019/10/21


Register Now for the 2019 Boston Accessibility Conference!

Follow all the latest updates on @a11y_bos on Twitter.

When

  • Saturday, November 2, 8:15 AM to 4:00 PM

Where

  • Fidelity Investments Corporate Headquarters
  • 245 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02110
  • Close to Boston’s South Station

What

This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web. It is an opportunity for programmers, designers, developers, students, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end-users to share information and learn from each other.

Who

Keynote Speaker: Jutta TreviranusInclusive Design Research CentreOntario College of Art and Design University

Organizers

2019 sponsors include my own program, INDEX, which has free information about programs, providers, and services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. See DisabilityInfo.org. We build accessible web applications and online courses. See INDEX Technical Services. We also develop mass-scale, artificial-intelligence-driven Web text simplification for people with cognitive disabilities. See EasyText.AI.

Register Now for the 2019 Boston Accessibility Conference!

U.S. Federal Interagency Accessibility Forum

2019/10/07

Federal Annual Interagency Accessibility Forum: Ensuring accessibility is a business imperative.
Today, I will be a panelist for the general session, Future Directions of Inclusive Technologies, at the United States Federal Interagency Accessibility Forum.

I will be speaking and answering questions about:

  • How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) help people understand what they read? (This relates to my EasyText.AI research.)
  • How can AI help people with disabilities live independently?
  • How can AI help people with disabilities gain and retain employment?
  • How we must not teach AI our biases.

Moderator

Betsy Sirk, Information Technology and Section 508 Program Manager, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Panelists

AI Empowerment & Fairness, Japan

2019/08/30

For the American Expert Speaker Program of the U.S. Department of State, I will give 3 presentations and participate in roundtable discussions in Tokyo, Fukuoka, and Beppu, Japan, from September 7 through September 23, 2019.

For two of them, I will focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) empowerment and fairness for people with disabilities, especially how AI empowers companies to hire a more diverse workforce. This will include the work of my colleague, Frances West, author of Authentic InclusionTM: Drives Disruptive Innovation.

For one of them, I will focus on the functions and activities of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and its INDEX Program, which I direct, as part of a larger discussion about independent living, the Internet of Things, and AI for people with disabilities. This will include my EasyText.AI research.

These activities are arranged and sponsored by the:

I am greatly honored that my presentations will be introduced by and/or the discussions will be moderated by the esteemed:

  • Ms. Kelsey De Rinaldis, Program Development Officer, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Tokyo
    • Audience: 5 to 10 NPO representatives, chief staff members of business entities, and researchers who work promoting using AI for accessibility.
  • Dr. Ken’ichiro Takashiba, Director of the Joint Surgery Center, Fukuoka Mirai Hospital / Vice-Chairperson, Fukuoka Triathlon 2019
    • Audience: about 60 rehabilitation and medical staff and doctors.
  • Mr. Hidekazu Goto, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, NPO Center for Independent Living Support Oita / International Visitor Leadership Program in 2018 on Accessibility and Inclusion
    • Audience: about 30 support staff, persons with disabilities, local government officials and the general public.

I am indebted to the following people for arranging all of this for me, and/or who will be assisting me.

I am excited to learn from Japanese experts including people with disabilities living independently in Japan.

AI and Disability Interview

2019/06/17

AXS Chat recently posted to YouTube an interview of me about my artificial intelligence (AI) research and work for people with disabilities. I talk, in part, about:

  • the promise of a text-comprehension parallel between AI and people with intellectual disabilities;
  • how AI-driven Web text simplification will benefit other populations, such as non-native language speakers; and
  • my work to make sure people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism are not left out of online education.

I thank the AXS Chat members, Neil Milliken, Debra Ruh, and Antonio Santos, for their tireless work to inform the world about inclusion and technology.

Amazon re:MARS Accessibility

2019/06/14


Amazon Machine Learning Research Awards generously sponsored my colleagues and me to participate in last week’s Amazon re:MARS Conference. It was a global artificial intelligence (AI) event focused on Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space.

The conference was great with accessibility. I was assigned an employee who guided me everywhere and was just wonderful. The conference website was accessible and easy to navigate. When I identified accessibility problems with the mobile app and with SageMaker tools, Amazon personnel immediately assured me they would be fixed.

The sponsorship included participation in the re:MARS VIP Leadership Networking Reception. I was honored to speak with members of Amazon leadership as well as senior researchers from industry and academia.

We discussed:

  • my AI-driven, Web text simplification research;
  • AI fairness for people with disabilities; and
  • developing an Alexa skill for DisabilityInfo.org.

 

MIT Library Systems Inclusion Workshop

2019/04/02

MIT LibrariesI will participate this week in a

I plan to discuss my AI Web text simplification research and AI fairness for people with disabilities. More about AI fairness soon.

AI Web Text Simplification: CSUN 2019

2019/03/04

I will soon present part of my AI-Driven Web Text SiCSUN Center on Disabilitiesmplification research.

My talk:

We tested if people with intellectual disabilities understand Web text simplified with plain-language standards. (Spoiler: They do!)

We are operationalizing plain-language standards essentially to develop:

  • a reliable, easy-to-use method for human editors to create simple text; and
  • algorithms for AI to recognize and to create simple text.

 

 

 

 

AI Web Text Simplification: Partners

2019/01/21

For my AI-Driven Web Text Simplification research, I lead a coalition of corporate and academic partners. They include:

AI-Driven Web Text Simplification: Intro

2019/01/07

Research Goal

Make Web text so simple people understand it the first time they read it.

Background

Text comprises the vast majority of Web content. Poor reading comprehension presents significant challenges to many populations, including people with cognitive disabilities, non‐native speakers, and people with low literacy.

Text simplification aims to reduce text complexity while retaining its meaning. Manual text simplification research has been ongoing for decades. Yet no significant effort has been made to automate text simplification except as a preprocessor for natural-language processing tasks such as machine translation and summarization.

Short-Term Approach

In the short term, my partners and I are improving manual text simplification by creating effective, replicable methods for humans to produce it. We use national and international plain language standards. We conduct pilot studies to see if people comprehend our human-curated, simplified Web text better than typical Web text.

Long-Term Approach

In the long term, my partners and I are developing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to produce simple Web text on a mass scale. We are training AI with enormous sets of aligned sentence pairs (typical/simple). We will soon start crowd-sourcing the generation of training data.

I will provide details in future blog posts.

Wayfinding in Massachusetts

2018/12/17

Wouldn’t it be great to be guided to your airport gate?

I am building a Massachusetts partnership to develop a technology-based wayfinding (indoor navigation) solution that works for everyone, including people with disabilities. For the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force of the Worldwide Web Consortium, I have been developing international wayfinding guidelines focused on people with cognitive disabilities. For years, I have been building a collection of technology-driven wayfinding efforts. I anticipate testing these technologies, perhaps on the Boston subway system and/or Logan Airport, by people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.

Possible Partners as of December 2018

I have enlisted the support of senior leadership for the following.

Independent Living Centers

Massachusetts State Government Agencies

State and International Nonprofits

Academic Institutions

Businesses

Interested in contributing? Please see my faculty profile for contact info.


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