Facebook’s Automatic Alt Text Technology Helps Visually Impaired Users to ‘’See’’ Photos

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Facebook Inc. has recently introduced the Revolutionary machine learning technology that is trained to identify the visual objects & describe the photos, enabling the visually impaired users to ‘see’ the pictures that are posted on the social network.

The “automatic alt text” produces a portrayal of a photo using the developments in object recognition technology. People who use the screen readers on their iOS devices will perceive a range of objects a photo may feature as they swipe past the array of images on Facebook.

Previously, the people with the visual impairments could only hear name of the individual who shared the photo, shadowed by term “photo” whenever they came through a picture in their News Feed.

“This’s possible because of the Facebook’s object recognition technology that is based on a neural network that’s billions of parameters & is trained with millions of examples,” said the company in a statement.

The recent list of the concepts covers a variety of things that can be existing in the photos, including the appearance of the people, the pictures of nature, sports, transportation and food.

“As Facebook becomes an increasingly visual experience, we hope that our new automatic alternative text technology will help blind community experience Facebook the same way others enjoy it,” said Facebook.

Facebook Inc. is launching the automatic alt text first on the iOS screen readers set to English, however it claimed that it plans to insert the function for other platforms & languages in near future.

285 million people are assessed to be visually impaired globally. According to WHO (World Health Organization) 246 million have low vision while 39 million are blind.

According to Facebook, over 2 billion images are shared daily across Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook, and Messenger.

“While this technology is still nascent, tapping its current capabilities to describe the photos is a huge step toward providing our visually impaired community the same benefits & enjoyment that everyone else gets from photos,” said the Silicon Valley-based social network.

Last week, Microsoft proclaimed the new additions to its Cortana to agree the system to “hear, see, speak, understand & interpret our needs using natural methods of communication,” among the other things.

Microsoft also stated that a “Seeing AI (Artificial Intelligence)” research project was ongoing, intended to help those who’re visually impaired to “better understand who & what is around them.”

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