For Dr. Cecily Morrison is deeply personal examining how AI can help the blind or visually impaired. It's not only that the Microsoft Principal Researcher has a 7-year-old son who is blind, she also believes that the powerful AI-related technologies that help people need to be personal and tailored to people's circumstances and abilities who support them.
We will see new AI techniques that users can use to personalize experiences for themselves, ”says Dr. Morrison, who works at Microsoft Research Cambridge, focusing on human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. "Everyone is different. A disability label does not mean that one person has the same needs as another person with the same label. New techniques are making it possible for people to use just a few examples to teach AI technologies about their informational needs in order to have a personalized experience that suits their specific needs. Tech is more about personal needs than disability labels. "
Dr. Morrison will speak at Sight Tech Global, a virtual, global event on December 2-3, examining how AI-related technologies will shape the future of accessibility for the blind and visually impaired. The event, which was launched on theinformationsuperhighway, will take place on December 2nd and 3rd and is free for attendees. Pre-register here.
Dr. Morrison is currently involved in several research projects examining the potential of AI to enable people with blindness or low vision. The Tokyo project, for example, examines ways of providing information about the immediate social environment in order to improve people's existing abilities and skills for sensory perception.
The team works closely with people who are blind or visually impaired to ensure that the research is based on their experiences and needs. “It is important that we envision what technology is doing for blind and partially sighted people in ways that will empower them. Many blind and visually impaired people have developed well-developed strategies for understanding their surroundings. AI technology must expand these acute sensory perception capabilities and fill information gaps. It is important that technology is not viewed as a substitute for vision, but rather as an extension of the information that a person already has when they lead their life. "
As the mother of a blind child, Dr. Morrison, "seeing the world from a different perspective and participating in communities that I would otherwise not have seen or participated in". That definitely drove her research forward. An inclusive design project, Turin, was inspired by the need for blind children to learn to code. The result was a physical programming language that was designed to teach computer thinking and basic programming to children ages 7-11, regardless of their eyesight. The effort resulted in a spin-out project called Code Jumper, which is now commercially available from the American printing house for the blind.
This success resulted from close trial and error collaboration with blind 7-11 year olds. Here, Dr. Morrison also share their understanding of the importance of researchers working closely with the people they want to help. She also points out that people with visual impairments are generally great early technology adopters.
"In the agent area," says Dr. Morrison, "we have done some work with people who are blind and partially sighted because at the time we were working with agents, typical people were not heavy users of agents." In fact, most people thought they were toys. While for blind and visually impaired people were early adopters and heavy users of agent technologies. They could really help push the boundaries of what these technologies can do. If you don't use the technology regularly, you can't really imagine the next steps. So it's a great example of inclusive design where we can work with this cohort of very capable blind people to think about what agents of the future will look like for all of us. "
Dr. Morrison holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Cambridge and a bachelor's degree in ethnomusicology from Barnard College at Columbia University. She shares life with her partner and two children, one of whom is blind.
Pre-registration for Sight Tech Global is open. And the event is free.
Sight Tech Global is a sponsored event. Our partners so far include Waymo, Google, Wells Fargo, theinformationsuperhighway and Verizon Media. All proceeds go to the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired 501 (c) (3). For more information on sponsorship, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.