Ned Desmond talks with Mike Shebanek of META at Sight Tech Global 2023
Accessibility & Technology

Sight Tech Global All Inclusive

Dec 11, 2023

Sight Tech Global All Inclusive

It is a great pleasure to attend a world-wide conference dedicated to developments in accessible technologies for people who are visually impaired or blind. Quite possibly the most inclusive conference you’ll ever attend because it’s literally open to everyone. There is no registration fee, no travel expense, no airports or hotels to navigate. The venue is virtual, so you can attend whenever you wish, selectively and on-demand.

The annual Sight Tech Global Conference is a production of the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, founded and executive produced by Ned Desmond. The conference is beautifully accessible. Browse the 2023 Agenda and select the sessions of interest to you and click to watch. Right below the 2023 Agenda, you can even select past conference agendas starting with 2020, it’s all there, a complete reference. This year, it came as no surprise, Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominated the conversations. Speakers talked about how AI influenced and improved their products. They discussed the upsides and the downsides of AI, the magnificence and the maleficence. They shared their hopes and dreams and they marveled at how fast it is moving. How far it can go, no one really seems to know. 

Here are some highlights from Sight Tech Global 2023:

  • Where will AI take accessibility? A conversation with Mike Shebanek – As the Head of Accessibility at META, Mike shares his unique perspective on inclusivity with an emphasis on universal design. Sounds like we can look forward to, accessibility out-of-the-box for, the META Quest 3 AV/VR headset and the Ray Ban META smart glasses.
  • Andrew Leland on his instant classic, “The Country of the Blind” – The interview, moderated by Daryl Adams, of intel, is more of a sweet conversation between two people with the common experience of progressively losing sight to retinitis pigmentosa. Andrew Leland describes the ambiguity many experience in adjusting when you are “too blind to be sighted and too sighted to be blind.”
  • Waymo in San Francisco: A lesson in public advocacy for AI – It’s wonderful to learn of the driverless taxi service now operating in San Francisco by Waymo, thanks to the advocacy and partnership of the local Lighthouse and NFB organizations. This might be coming to a city near you.
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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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