Facebook is making new inroads into the domain of artificial intelligence as it introduces a new mobile app which replies through voice to the queries raised by users about the content of photos.
Speaking at the MIT’s EmTech conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts Yann LeCun, the director of Facebook’s artificial intelligence research group, presented the app and elaborated on its features to the gathering. He stated that the applications of the app are far reaching including that of providing assistance to the visually impaired.
The app allows users to pose questions through voice input to the app’s artificial intelligence about photos on Facebook. The app is based on the voice-based search tool and won’t be up for grabs until the testing phase of the app is completed. As of now Facebook is launching the app to only a select few individuals.
“Think of what this might mean to the 285 million people globally who have low vision capabilities or the 40 million who are blind. Instead of being left out of the experience when friends share photo content, they’ll be able to participate,” stated Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer.
The apps artificial intelligence is capable enough of identifying different objects in an image down to the specific colours of the objects and their position in the image.
“What you’re seeing is not fake; it’s a real system, and it’s able to answer basic questions about images. A system that actually describes an image could be a very useful thing for the visually impaired,” said LeCun.
LeCun revealed that the app’s AI is based on the concept of deep learning, which learns the same way as our brain cells do naturally. At the core of the AI is an innovative technique designed by the research team. The technique is termed as memory networks, and is capable enough to understand basic verbal reasoning.
LeCun opines that in the future computers will be able to converse with humans similar to the way we use language in our social dimensions. Very soon the concept of humans’ relying on AI for emotional needs could come out of the pages of science fiction into everyday reality.