Facebook's new AI will describe photos to the visually impaired

By Shrey Pacheco | Updated 5 Apr 2016
Facebook's new AI will describe photos to the visually impaired
  • Facebook’s new feature is called automatic alternative text and it generates a description of a photograph using object recognition technology

Facebook is rolling out a feature that will use Artificial Intelligence to describe the content of a photograph to the visually impaired. The feature is called Automatic Alternative Text and generates a description of a photograph using object recognition technology. Before this, those who used screen readers like VoiceOver on iOS devices would only hear the name of the person who shared the photograph along with the term ‘photo’ when they came across a picture in their News Feed. This feature would now offer a richer description of the photograph, such as “Image may contain three people, smiling, outdoors.” 

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Automatic alternative text is currently only available for iOS users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in English. However, Facebook has stated that the feature will soon be expanded to include more platforms, markets, and languages. 

Shrey Pacheco
Writer, gamer, and hater of public transport.
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