Updated Facebook iOS app uses AI to help the blind ‘see’


The social media giant, Facebook launched a new artificial intelligence feature on its iOS platform to help their visually impaired users finally ‘see’ like Daredevil.

The newly developed artificial intelligence generates a description of photos a user looks at and then tells the user a list of items it sees in the photo. The software can currently identify things like cars, boats, airplane,snow, ocean, sunsets, sushi, babies, basketball courts etc.

Once a feature called ‘Automatic alt text,’ identifies specific concepts, the AI uses iOS’ VoiceOver feature to give out loud a description of the photo to its user like, “Image may contain three people, smiling, outdoors.”
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The feature took the company’s accessibility team, led by Jeff Wieland around 10 months to develop. It recognises images by first looking at a million of examples of concepts to get a better understanding of it, similar to the way a brain works to learn concepts.

Automatic Alternative Text is currently available to iOS users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in English with plans to roll out globally soon.