In order to improve social network experiences for the visually impaired users Facebook has presented a new function in its iOS application that helps such people see photos.
Thanks to AI technology, the application automatically generates a description of each photo the user is viewing in Facebook. When they use a display reader on iOS, they hear image descriptions such as “three smiling people at the street are depicted in the image”.
Descriptions generated by automatic alternative text are generated as an alternative to image.
This is a standard HTML-attribute intended to improve the functionality of the display readers.
AI, used for this function, employs the Facebook technology for identification of objects in images. According to the company, this function took 10 months to develop; it involves neural networks that imitate neuron webs in human brain in order to learn to identify images after a workout on millions of examples.
Automatic alternative text is now available in English for iOS users in the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Facebook reports that this function will soon be available on other platforms, in other languages and countries.