Facebook’s new feature will allow people with visual impairment to successfully experience social media, with the help of Artificial Intelligence for blind users to ‘see’ their photos. Considering the Internet is more filled with images than words, the social media company giant set the goal to make blind people able to experience most of the content.

The newly developed feature was released on Tuesday, as Facebook announced its Automatic Alternative Text for visually impaired people to hear a description of any photo. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, programmed to accurately describe the content of a photo, the new tool will generate photo captions for users who can’t see or are visually impaired.

Facebook accessibility team members (l-r) Matt King, Jeff Wieland, and Shaomei Wu. Credit: Facebook

It is important for a giant company like Facebook to reach out to people who can’t enjoy all that Facebook has to offer. The Automatic Alternative Text tool developed by Facebook will be used in the News Feed featuring a text-to-speech tool able to better the experience for people not able to see.

As technology continues to advance at an increasingly rapid pace, the integration of new ways for people to experience social media will continue to be developed. Blind people, as well as visually impaired people now, can use the AAT tool in order for them to hear a photo description read by the artificial intelligence software.

Now, the system responsible for captioning the image for people who can’t perceive the picture is set to describe only the main elements. Although it could seem a little undeveloped for users able to see their images in the News Feed on Facebook’s page, it marks a remarkable step forward into expanding accessibility for all.

Available content for all, regardless if users can or can’t watch it

The featured launched on Tuesday by Facebook could lead web developers to better the AI’s capacity of describing a picture, until more detailed images can be captioned effectively.

Amazingly enough, the AI software is now capable of describing the basic elements of any picture. For instance, a photo tagged, as ‘Sunday night splurge’ showing a pepperoni pizza, would be heard as ‘image contains pizza, food’.

This would give visually impaired users the opportunity to at least imagine what the photo is about, therefore, improving their social media experience. And considering social media is now focused on pictures, emojis, and images, it’s a truly inspirational trade to give blind people to be included in today’s social networking.

Facebook also plans to develop a more enhanced image-recognition system, able to identify the people in the picture, given that they’re Facebook friends. So maybe there could be a way to include all people to enjoy Facebook’s content, regardless of their condition, in the near future.

Source: The Verge