As we prepare for the third annual Sight Tech Global (December 7-8, free & virtual, register here), a technology event that tracks the advances in technology supporting people who live with blindness, two big shifts are front and center.
First, new digital experiences, notably virtual reality, are testing known approaches to accessibility. There are no white canes or screen readers (yet!) in the metaverse. That digital realm is on the verge of going mainstream both for consumers and enterprises so quickly that accessibility could easily become an afterthought, as it was at the start of the PV era.
At Sight Tech Global, we will hear from the people working to ensure that the metaverse is open to all. The event is free and virtual!
Second, the technology platforms underpinning so many of the breakthroughs in assistive and access tech — the tools that help blind and low vision people navigate the world — are advancing fast and enabling better, cheaper devices. Not long ago, AI-powered computer vision systems were costly marvels of miniaturized cameras, GPUs and batteries, but faster networks, cloud services and more powerful mobile phones are changing everything, especially the cost.
The old debate in access tech was which would prevail — universal technology platforms such as mobile phones with built-in accessibility features, or purpose-built devices specifically for people who need vision assistance. The emerging formula is not one or the other but both, in a winning combination.
At Sight Tech Global, we will hear from the technologists applying the new approaches to next generation devices. Register today.
And underlying so much of these discussions is the evolution of AI itself, which is a critical technology across the spectrum of blind tech. The current “deep learning” form of AI continues to deliver striking results in forms such as the natural language GPT3 or many computer vision AIs. But there is growing dissatisfaction with the ability of those powerful pattern-recognition systems to apply something more like human reasoning to issues large and small, not to mention filter out the bias and problems when AIs are unleashed.
At Sight Tech Global, we will hear from top AI technologists grappling with those topics and more.
The event agenda will be ready in a month, but we hope you will register today. The event is free and virtual.
And one new twist in 2022: Sight Tech Global is adding an “In Person” event on December 9 in San Jose, California. The event is aimed at technologists, product leaders and designers working in access tech. The event is limited to 150 people and by invitation only. Most of the programming will be workshops driven by attendees. Here’s where you can request an invitation or nominate someone.
Sight Tech Global is a production of the nonprofit Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We’re grateful to current sponsors APH, Amazon, Google, Fable, Humanware, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Waymo. If you would like to sponsor the event, please contact us. All sponsorship revenues go to the nonprofit Vista Center, which has been serving the Silicon Valley area for 75 years.