Matt King: May 16, 2018

MAKING TECHNOLOGY ACCESSIBLE FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES

FACEBOOK’S FIRST BLIND ENGINEER SHARES HIS STORY AND HOW TECHNOLOGY
IS HELPING THOSE WITH DISABILITIES CONNECT TO THEIR COMMUNITY

**MAY 17TH IS GLOBAL ACCESSIBILITY AWARENESS DAY**

Matt King

Facebook Accessibility Specialist

It’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day – an annual day to get people thinking and learning about how technology can help people who have a disability, like not being able to see or hear, to feel included, share their lives with friends and family and access information just like everyone else does.

Matt King, an engineer at Facebook who lost his sight in college and since dedicated his entire career to making technology accessible to all people, is available to share more about how artificial intelligence is now making it possible for people with disabilities to use social media and some of the life-changing ways people with disabilities are using Facebook to connect with their communities.

Areas to discuss include:

  • What it’s like to be have a disability in today’s world.
  • What role social media can play in creating a world where all people can participate.
  • Matt’s story: How he lost his sight in college and went on to become a three-time Paralympian, record-breaking tandem cyclist and father of two and devotes his life to making technology more accessible, from IBM to Facebook.
  • How artificial intelligence is making it possible for people who are blind to “see” photos and know who and what is in them.
  • Examples of people with disabilities whose lives have been changed because of this technology

•  Trevor Thomas is the only professional blind hiker in the world. With screen reader technology, Trevor uses a Facebook Page to connect with followers who call him an inspiration, and to post photos and videos he takes of his treks

•  Jessie Lorenz is a blind single mother who created the Jean’s Village Facebook Group as a source of support for herself and her daughter, Jean. Facebook allows her to connect with friends and other people she meets in a natural way that helps dispel certain attitudes and myths about people who are blind.

MORE ABOUT MATT KING

As Facebook’s first blind engineer, Matt is pushing boundaries in software accessibility for people with disabilities. Born legally blind as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, Matt lost his remaining vision while at the University of Notre Dame and had to learn to rely on screen reading software when using computers. Seeing the potential of such software but frustrated by its limitations, Matt began dedicating his free time to improving it, first at IBM and now at Facebook. Matt is a three-time Paralympian, record-breaking tandem cyclist and the only blind championship medal holder in the field of US elite track cyclists.

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