woman working at office
woman working at office

Facebook uses AI to describe pictures for users who are blind

Blind person walking with her friend

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Facebook has announced the automatic alternative text that generates a description of a picture, enabling users who are blind to envisage the content of a photo.

The iOS app is using object recognition technology to give users who are blind an audio breakdown of what’s going on in photos posted on the social network.

Facebook has used its vast trove of user pictures to train a deep neural network that drives a computer vision system built to recognize objects in images.

Facebook then translates that into “alt text”, text alternatives for pictures that can be interpreted by screen readers. This should mean that any screen reader can pick up Facebook’s alt text output and read out pictures to the user.

Users who are blind or have low vision in English-speaking markets using Facebook’s iOS app will begin to hear things like “image may contain: three people, smiling, outdoors”.