Capability Summit 2024: Advancing accessibility with AI expertise and innovation


As we speak we kick off the 14th Microsoft Capability Summit, an annual occasion to deliver collectively thought leaders to debate how we speed up accessibility to assist bridge the Incapacity Divide.

There are three key themes to this yr’s summit: Construct, Think about, and Embody. “Construct” invitations us to discover how one can construct accessibly and inclusively by leaning on the insights of disabled expertise. “Think about” dives into finest practices for architecting accessible buildings, occasions, content material and merchandise. And “Embody” highlights the problems and alternatives AI presents for creators, builders and engineers.

Katy Jo Wright and Dave McCarthy focus on Katy Jo’s journey residing with the complicated incapacity, Persistent Lyme Illness. Get insights from deaf creator and performer Leila Hanaumi; worldwide accessibility leaders Sara Minkara, U.S. Particular Advisor on Worldwide Incapacity Rights, U.S. Division of State; and  Stephanie Cadieux, Chief Accessibility Officer, Authorities of Canada. And we’ll be digging into psychological well being with singer, actor and psychological well being advocate, Michelle Williams.

We’ll even be launching a couple of issues alongside the best way.

Advancing accessible expertise

Accessible expertise is essential to empowering the 1.3 billion-plus folks with disabilities globally. With this new chapter of AI, the chances are rising, as is the accountability to get it proper. We’re studying the place AI may be impactful, from the potential to shorten the hole between ideas and motion, to creating it simpler to code and create. However there may be extra to do, and we are going to proceed to leverage each device within the expertise toolbox to advance accessibility.

As we speak we’ll be highlighting the newest expertise and instruments from Microsoft to assist obtain this aim together with:

  • Copilot for Home windows, making accessibility simpler. Starting late March 2024, new accessibility abilities are being enabled in Home windows. Ask Copilot for Home windows to launch Stay Captions, Narrator and different accessibility options. Extra: Home windows Weblog
  • M365 empowering creators to construct accessible content material. Together with Accessibility Assistant, a set of instruments to assist creators produce accessible content material obtainable at the moment in Insider preview for Phrase and sharing that Outlook and PowerPoint are coming quickly! Ales Holecek may also be sharing some examples and early analysis on neurodiversity and M365 Copilot which reduces time to create content material and shortens the hole between ideas and motion.
  • Azure AI for Accessibility, at the moment sharing six new examples together with:
    • Seeing AI is now obtainable in a further 14 languages (complete 33) and will probably be rolling out the newest generative AI fashions, together with richer descriptions of pictures and chat functionality for photographs and paperwork.
    • Azure AI Audio Description answer accelerator, new upcoming answer accelerator that makes use of Azure GPT-4 Turbo with Imaginative and prescient to explain movies for people who find themselves blind or low imaginative and prescient. WPP will probably be demonstrating how this works, and the answer accelerator is now open for sign-ups.

Know-how may also assist deal with lengthy enduring challenges, like discovering a remedy for ALS (Motor Neuron Illness). With Azure, we’re proudly supporting ALS Remedy Improvement Institute (TDI) and Reply ALS to virtually double the medical and genomic information obtainable for analysis. In 2021, Reply ALS supplied open entry to its analysis by means of an Azure Information Portal, Neuromine. This information has since enabled over 300 unbiased analysis initiatives world wide. The addition of ALS TDI’s information from the continuing ALS Analysis Collaborative (ARC) examine will permit researchers to speed up the journey to discover a remedy.

We may also be previewing a few of our ongoing work to make use of Customized Neural Voice to empower folks with ALS and different speech disabilities to have their voice. We’ve been working with the group together with Group Gleason for a while and are dedicated to creating certain this expertise is used for good and plan to launch later within the yr.

YouTube Video

Accessibility as a basic proper

To construct inclusively in an more and more digital world, we have to defend basic rights and will probably be sharing partnerships advancing this throughout the group all through the day.

This consists of:

  • A dialogue with Ilene Arenberg and Tanya Harris on entry to aggressive built-in employment and financial fairness, speaking concerning the office and truthful compensation.
  • The British Affiliation for Supported Employment (BASE) will share their work to help disabled, neurodivergent and deprived folks within the U.Okay. to search out and keep careers. They’ve been rising digital abilities utilizing Microsoft Groups and group coaching to modernize the supported employment sector.
  • The Starvation Venture will discuss concerning the significance of connectivity as a basis to accessibility. It’s working with group companions in Malawi and world wide to supply entry to connectivity and help for accessible areas, coaching supplies and digital accessibility.
  • Rijksmuseum will focus on their partnership with the blind and low imaginative and prescient group to deliver detailed textual content descriptions to over 1 million items of artwork utilizing Azure AI Pc Imaginative and prescient and Azure OpenAI. This video brings the expertise to life.

Subsequent steps, accelerating your accessibility journey

All by means of the Capability Summit, business leaders will probably be sharing their learnings and finest practices. As we speak we’re posting 4 new Microsoft playbooks, sharing our learnings from engaged on our bodily, occasion and digital surroundings. This features a new Psychological Well being toolkit, with ideas for product makers to construct experiences that help psychological well being circumstances, created in partnership with Psychological Well being America. And “Constructing Accessible Campus,” with finest practices from our World Office Companies group, chargeable for our world constructing footprint together with the brand new Redmond headquarters campus.

Please be part of us to observe content material on demand by way of Technical help is at all times obtainable by way of Microsoft’s Incapacity Reply Desk.  Thanks on your partnership and dedication to construct a extra accessible future for folks with disabilities world wide.

Tags: accessibility, AI, AI for Accessibility


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