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have you spotted any strange clouds yet today? Facebook’s servers can now decode and describe images

April 5, 2016

BBC article on Facebook’s image reader technology
Even if the video demo shows only the most successful examples of automated image descriptions, it is still an amazing thing to hear machines programmed to describe pictures in words actually working!

Inevitably there will be many images which the machines will produce a description of, that a real human would find some completely different significance in and so describe it completely differently, but, this is the start of a new era.

Screen readers that read text out loud are now what we could call first generation assistive technologies, straight talking text converters. But these image readers that Facebook are using now, these are second gen and a whole different ball game.

[image showing a person smiling and staring quizzically into a golden sunlit horizon with strange shaped clouds scudding across the sky]

Arr, if you are sighted you’ll wonder where the image is that the above text description describes, there isn’t one, it’s in my head! You’ll just have to imagine it just like I’ve imagined all the images that my screen reader just says “graphic” to thus far!!

Oh, and yes the image is conveying what I think of this new technology…


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