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.

2018 Boston Accessibility Conference – 10/27 – Register Now!

2018/10/02

Register Now for the 2018 Boston Accessibility Conference!

When

  • Saturday, October 27, 2018, 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, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other.

Who

Keynote Speaker:

Organizers:

2018 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.

Register Now for the 2018 Boston Accessibility Conference!

2016 Boston Accessibility Conference – 10/1 – Register Now!

2016/09/12

Register Now for the 2016 Boston Accessibility Conference!

When

  • Saturday, October 1, 2010, 9 AM to 5 PM

Where

What

This is a conference about making technology accessible, especially the web, but also mobile, games, and much more. It is an opportunity for designers, developers, usability professionals, accessibility experts, and end users to share information and learn from each other.

Who

Keynote Speaker:

Organizers include:

2016 sponsors include my own program, INDEX, which has free information about programs, providers, and services for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. We also build accessible web applications and online courses.

Register Now for the 2016 Boston Accessibility Conference!

Discussion of U.S. and Worldwide Issues of Cognitive Accessibility

2015/09/29

Yesterday, Neil Milliken and Debra Ruh, members of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force, interviewed Andrew Imparato, Executive Director of the U.S. Association of University Centers on Disabilities as part of their AXSchat series.

Watch the great, informative interview of Andy. Their discussion is a wide-ranging one, including commentary about related U.S. policy, and the history of its development.

The programs they discussed are the very ones in which I have worked, since 1991, at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center.


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