Any long-time listeners of the show know that I’m passionate about accessibility and disability technology. Technologies that support the idea that we can have an equitable world, and that creating a more accessible world makes things better not just for the group specifically considered in that technology, but for all of us, is a key idea to me. That’s why I wanted to sit down with Suman Kanuganti, the former Co-founder and CEO of Aira Tech, a high-tech startup whose work helped pioneer a way to bridge the information gap for those who are blind or low vision. At Aira, Kanuganti transformed cities, airports, and universities across the country by helping to make those spaces accessible for people who are blind or low-vision.
After founding AIRA, Suman went on to start another company, PersonalAI, which is extending the principles of accessibility and mobility to the context of memory. In founding PersonalAI, Suman sought to create an AI to support memory, and to return data ownership back to the individual at this critical moment, when the assumptions that used to rule the web, where our personal data was the property of the companies whose products we use to move throughout digital space in our daily lives—Facebook, Google, WhatsApp—are in flux. In this conversation, we talk about the concept of memory and the transformation of this concept in the context of digital technologies; we talk about the challenges of, and possibilities, for creating accessibility technologies, and Suman shares his vision of returning data ownership to the people.
Suman Kanuganti is the CEO of PersonalAI. He holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship / Entrepreneurial Studies from the UC San Diego Rady School of Management, a Master’s in Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Kakatiya University, India.