Wednesday January 24, 2018

20 years after rescuing her, retired detective becomes special guest at a young woman’s graduation in Connecticut

The fire broke out in an apartment in June 1998, which belonged to Josibelk Aponti's uncle Jofrey. She lost her cousin in the accident while she herself suffered third degree-burns.

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Then and now: Getz and Aponti Hartford Courant Image source: Independent.co.uk
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A Connecticut detective was invited as a special guest in the graduation ceremony of a woman. If this seems strange, it can be traced back to 20 years before, when this detective rescued a five-year old girl from a terrible apartment fire.

Two years back in 2014, Josi Aponti, who is now 23 and a graduate, used the internet and social media to trace her guardian angel, Retired Detective Peter Getz. Josi used Facebook to find her savior as she felt that Peter is the reason that she is alive today and that he must be present at her commencement ceremony.

The fire broke out in an apartment in June 1998, which belonged to her uncle Jofrey. Josibelk Aponti (her proper name), lost her cousin in the accident while she herself suffered third degree-burns.

Flashback of the fire. Image source: Independent.co.uk
Flashback of the fire. Image Source: Independent.co.uk

Instead for waiting for assistance from hospital or an ambulance, Mr Getz took the unconscious girl into a car and performed CPR on her while his partner, Sgt. Donnie Camp, drove at high speed to reach the nearest hospital.

According to a NBC News report, after the Eastern Connecticut State University commencement at the giant XL Center, a sports arena in Hartford, Ms Aponte said, “I’m told that if he would have just waited a few more seconds for the ambulance to come in, I could have died.”

“There are only a few moments that are so important in life. I wanted to share my graduation with everyone who’s important to me, who have been there for me, and who helped me through tough times,“ Josi said.

Mr Getz and Sgt. Camp got featured in a Throwback Thursday post, when people posted old photographs on social media last year in 2015, reminding both of them of the tragic and chaotic day.

“I am honored and humbled to be depicted here on TBT. I take my hat off to the brave and heroic members of the Hartford Fire Department that entered the active fire, located Josie and brought her out. Thank You,” Mr Getz replied to that post last year.

This incident made him a hero to one grateful family but even today he remains modest of that day.

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Blind Facebook employee is developing tech for sightless

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform.

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Pixabay
  • A blind Facebook employee is developing AI to make social network for sightless fun
  • He is developing AI which will verbalise images and videos
  • This technology will enable alt-text for images and videos

A blind Facebook employee is developing a technology that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to verbalise the content of an image or video and enable the visually impaired to “see” and determine appropriate content for people and advertisers.

Facebook engineer Matt King is leading a project that is making solutions for visually impaired people on the platform that could eventually be used to identify images and videos that violate Facebook’s terms of use or that advertisers want to avoid.

Also Read : Facebook might bring Stories on desktop 

This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters
This feature will verbalise images and videos for the visually impaired. Image Source: Reuters

“More than two billion photos are shared across Facebook every single day. That’s a situation where a machine-based solution adds a lot more value than a human-based solution ever could,” CNBC quoted King as saying late on Saturday.

King, who was born with a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, lost his vision by the time he got his degree and started working at IBM with the tech giant’s accessibility projects.

He worked on a screen reader to help visually impaired people “see” what is on their screens either through audio cues or a braille device. IBM eventually developed the first screen reader for a graphical interface.

He worked with the accessibility team till Facebook hired him from IBM in 2015.

The man behind this development is Matt King.
The man behind this development is Matt King.

At Facebook, he works on features to help people with disabilities use the platform, like adding captions to videos or coming up with ways to navigate the site using only audio cues.

“Anybody who has any kind of disability can benefit from Facebook. They can develop beneficial connections and understand their disability doesn’t have to define them, to limit them,” King said.

Also Read : Facebook Profit Escalates with No Major Impact from Russia and it’s Advertisements

One of his main projects is “automated alt-text,” which describes audibly what is in Facebook images.

When automated alt-text was launched in April 2016, it was only available in five languages on the iOS app. Today it is available in over 29 languages on Facebook on the web, iOS and Android.

Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay
Facebook is available in more than 29 languages across the world. Pixabay

“The things people post most frequently kind of has a limited vocabulary associated with it,” the Facebook engineer said.

“It makes it possible for us to have one of those situations where if you can tackle 20 per cent of the solution, it tackles 80 per cent of the problem. It’s getting that last 20 per cent which is a lot of work, but we’re getting there,” he said.

In December 2017, Facebook pushed an automatic alt-text update that used facial recognition to help visually impaired people find out who is in photos. IANS