Facebook has always been focused on innovating and developing new technology, and this week they’re in the news for once again doing just that. In particular Facebook is getting lots of positive press for their newest artificial intelligence system which helps blind people experience Facebook the way the rest of us do. In particular, Facebook is now making it possible for blind users to “see” Facebook posts and photos by describing exactly what is in the photos. This is a monumental step for blind users, as it really does help them get one step closer to living a normal life.
The concept is pretty simple, by describing a photo Facebook can essentially help people understand exactly what they would be experiencing. The truly innovative piece is the fact that it is all being accomplished automatically now with no user input. Facebook’s advanced artificial intelligence is able to decipher what the picture is showing, and describe it to the user. The feature is now being rolled out, and the initial impressions have been very positive so far.
Of course Facebook has multiple reasons for making this happen, the primary reason is that they constantly want to provide the best experience to all of their users in any way possible. In addition, Facebook credits much of the work to one of their lead engineers who is blind, because he was one of the primary driving factors behind making the entire project.
No word yet on when exactly Facebook’s artificial intelligence photo description system will be available to all users, but it is great news for the hundreds of thousands of blind Facebook users. It is only a matter of time before Facebook starts to push this out to other services and it really could be a significant improvement in the lives of millions of blind users, both on Facebook and off. Facebook hasn’t announced whether or not they’re going to let other companies use their system but it seems likely that it’ll soon be a common selection on many websites and social sites online.