By Lexi Perry
BU News Service
At CES 2019 — a conference showing off the latest and greatest in technology to thousands — one Monday morning panel explored how artificial intelligence is being used to assist disabled and
The panel moderator, Stephen Ewell of the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, said there’s a growing market for accessible technology. And it’s not just about offering health services, the executive director said. A
Betsy Beaumon, the CEO of Benetech — a nonprofit offering software to disabled communities — said artificial intelligence can, for example, fill some needs librarians used to address
The issue of privacy and confidentiality quickly came up during the discussion. Companies like those represented on the panel — which included Benetech, AARP, and CarePredict — have access to a lot of personal information.
“Don’t collect information if it’s not going to make a difference,” Beaumon said.
When it comes to engaging with these often marginalized communities, according to Ewell, it comes down to really listening and working with people that will be affected by the technologies.
“Be active in considering people you’re trying to serve,” Ewell said.
Mary Bellard, senior accessibility architect at Microsoft echoed Ewell’s sentiments.
“Don’t overlook local communities to connect with,” Bellard said.