What is it?
Imagine, a friend shared a lovely photo on Facebook and you aren’t able to see the photo because you’re blind. They could not enjoy pictures, which means in this ‘ images culture’, they miss a lot.
But Facebook came up with a great idea to let blind people understand photos. By using artificial intelligence, the social platform can describe pictures. On the basis of catchwords, the content will be described. For instance, this photo contains two smiling people, a dog, a tree, and sunbeams. The software is still in an early stage. At the moment it is only available in English and for iOS-users. But this will change in the future. The purpose of Facebook is to bring visually impaired people closer with the social platform. Why can’t they enjoy it as well?
Maybe you think now, how can they even read? Well, iOS offers already assistance for blind people, where text and buttons can be read out loud.
Why is it cool?
Facebook is a social platform and wants to connect people. Photos, messages can be shared. It is great to see that they are thinking about ‘how can we connect everybody?’ And everyone is everyone for real. In this ‘image culture’, blind people can feel a bit excluded. But by helping them ‘seeing pictures’, Facebook can bring them closer in the society. Besides, by giving visually impaired the chance to see, we give them access to information which they ,without outside help, not had received. This means we can make information more transparent.
The Netherlands alone have more than 350.000 visually impaired people noticed Bartiméus Sonneheerdt (blind institute). And this is a small amount of the 285 million worldwide. If you look at possibilities that are driven by technology at the moment, we are able to help those 285 million.