Over the past couple of weeks I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to some fantastic technology as well as ideas. Attending WiRED 2015 kickstarted my thought process on how artificial intelligence could be applied to accessible technology.
While attending the conference there were two ideas I wanted to pitch to people, emotion detection to facilitate social situations for the visually impaired and facial recognition. I felt both these technologies could improve an individuals ability to socialise greatly. After chatting to a few people and pitching my ideas on how these systems could work from a design, implementation and marketing front I managed to interest a few companies and institutions.
There is fantastic scope for these technologies and their assistive ability. I concentrated on the emotion detection system initially as I feel these could have the greatest and speediest impact. I have encapsulated the idea into a product for all, rather than a product specifically for the visual impaired, as I believe these to be key for mass market adoption which, in turn will reduce the price significantly and reduce that initial barrier on any accessible product, price.
I am yet to find a partner to work with for facial detection, but I recently read an article highlighting that IBM are working on this. It really does seem as time goes on that IBM and I could be a great match!
I did also have a grander idea on accessibility while at the conference and was delighted to see it referenced by yet again IBM – cognitive assistance. I have been batting around a few ideas on how accessibility could be personalised. After there are nuances in an individuals accessible needs so why not make the solutions as nuanced. This could definitely be achieved through a cognitive accessible assistant that has the capacity to learn.
An accessible system that is capable of learning could aid in such tasks as reading. It would be able to identify how an individual likes to read information and execute it in that fashion. A nice example would be skim reading, being able to learn how to read a specific document for certain contextual references would be fantastic. This would certainly of assisted me greatly while at university, losing the ability to skim read is absolutely a skill I miss.
I continue to be excited by what technology is enabling and how I can become part of the revolution of accessibility.