I have several concerns with the Aira service specifically, and prefer to use Be My Eyes instead, But, taken together, both Aira and Be My Eyes are doing something for the blind community that I couldn’t be more thrilled to see, and that thing is democratizing skills attainment and thereby helping blind people to be as self-reliant as possible. I hope to see the day when democratization of skills attainment for blind people is at the same level democratization of publishing is. at: decentralized and as open as possible. The blind community is at its best when we’re sharing skills hacks and other hacks with each other freely, and I think services like Be My Eyes and Aira will help to escalate that free sharing. There are, in the US, rehab counsellors and other professionals who are great at their jobs, and there will be a lot of situations where those professionals are necessary for a long time to come. But I think the rehab system as a whole has at least contributed to what I think is a multi-generational problem within the blind community of dependence on others for basic skills learning, and there are a ton of people who fall through the cracks and don’t even have the professionals on which to depend, which is a huge disservice to them. And the consumer organizations are just a different flavor of the same problem. I suppose all of this is incredibly radical, but so be it. I think that, in order to fix a lot of the problems we have as a community, we’re going to need to do the fixing ourselves. We can’t afford to wait for the professionals to catch up eventually. I am totally cool with watching from the sidelines as the professionals and the consumer organizations fight each other to the death, and while they destroy themselves the rest of us can not only take control of our technological destinies, we can take control of our entire destinies. In other words, fuck the establishment, all of it, and burn the whole thing to the ground once it outlives its usefulness, and do our best to make sure the day it outlives its usefulness gets here as quickly as possible. Oh, and spice that up with making sure the entire establishment, all of it, the consumer organizations and the professionals, know damn good and well they’re close to outliving their usefulness and that those of us who have chosen to not be caught in the middle of their whose-junk-is-bigger contest are looking forward to the day when its grave becomes a communal partying spot complete with bonfire and liquor.