Visually impaired and blind people would certainly benefit a lot from this tool.
Being the world’s biggest social networking platform, Facebook’s users consist of all kinds of people, including visually impaired and the blind. As of now, visually impaired and blind people who have access to screen readers can listen to whatever’s happening on their News Feed. However, more often than not, the News Feed consists of pictures which are impossible for a screen reader to interpret.
This of course makes it difficult for the blind people to understand what exactly is going on in the image. To counter this problem, Facebook is working on an AI tool that will explain users the content of a picture.
Facebook’s first blind engineer, Matt King has come up with this idea and he is working day in and day out to ensure that he completes this task. In an interview he explains how such an idea came about.
“You just think about how much of your news feed is visual — and is probably most of it — and so often people will make a comment about a photo or they’ll say something about it when they post it, but they won’t really tell you what is in the photo. So for somebody like myself, it can be really like, ‘Ok, what’s going on here? What’s the discussion all about?”
He continued on to provide a couple of examples explaining how this new AI would work. He scrolled through his News Feed to find a picture which was accompanied by a text that read “Ready for picture day of first grade.” The picture recognition AI proceeded on to say: “This image may contain, colon, one or more people. Child.” Without the help of AI tech, Matt wouldn’t have known the content of the image.
Another picture of landscape was explained by the AI as: “This image may contain colon nature, outdoor, cloud, foliage, grass, tree.”
This tool is quite helpful and would certainly come in handy for the visually impaired and blind people. Facebook is currently prototyping this tech, but let’s hope they make it available soon.
Image Courtesy: wired.com