Facebook Introduces a Program for the Blind

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(Newswire.net — April 6, 2016) —Facebook will begin to use artificial intelligence to describe the content of photos to the blind and visually impaired.

The world’s largest social media network programmed their computers to describe the photos published on Facebook. As a result, blind and visually impaired people can use Facebook like everybody else.

The new function was released on Tuesday, on the Facebook iPhone application. It shows how artificial intelligence can recognize faces and objects in pictures which are shared on Facebook.

In order to function, the iPhone screen reader – VoiceOver, has to be activated for the photo captions. For now, it is available only in English.

The text is limited with a vocabulary of only 100 words. It means that the new function for the blind and visually impaired people will not include descriptions of details.

For example, the automatic voice can describe that a photo contains three smiling people outdoors, but without details such as the third person is holding a dog in his hand, reports the AP.

The Facebook experts who developed this option were very cautious. They did not want to offend their customers due to any unforeseen mistakes, like Google last year.

The most used search engine on the web launched a new function last year – a photo reader. But, this option wasn’t perfect as it described a photo of a black couple as a pair of gorillas.

Google apologized to its customers after the incident but the damage had already been done.

It is clear why Facebook is developing a similar function very cautiously.

The world’s largest social media network continues to refine the technology to provide more precise descriptions and for it to be able to answer questions that the user may have about a photo that has been shared on Facebook.