Say What You See, Facebook

Matt King, an accessibility specialist at Facebook, demonstrates a new technology that generates spoken descriptions of imagery for the visually impaired. Credit Photograph by Dai Sugano / Bay Area News Group / TNS / Alamy When Matt King signed up for Facebook, in 2009, he had already lost so much of his vision that he navigated the Internet using a screen reader, a piece of software that reads a Web page’s architecture and content aloud. At the time, King was an engineer at I.B.M. and an internationally ranked competitor in the sport of tandem track cycling. (He and a sighted companion took fourth place at the 1996 Paralympic Games, in Atlanta.) Nevertheless, for King, the process of creating an account and finding friends—something that might take a sighted person fifteen…

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