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in “ Tech news in brief ”,
October 14, 2020.

AI for the seeing impaired

MS image-captioning AI.

© Microsoft.

Microsoft’s AI researchers have achieved a significant breakthrough with a new image description model which, in certain tests, is more accurate than a human in describing the contents of a photo. This feat will no doubt be applauded by the blind and seeing impaired community, that uses alt-text for images. As the video below shows, the before-and-after descriptions of the same photo are miles apart (“a close-up of a cat” vs. “a grey cat with its eyes closed”). The AI system has been used to update Seeing AI, the company’s assistant app for the visually impaired, and will soon be incorporated into other Microsoft products like Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. For developers, image description AI will be available as a stand-alone model via Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform Azure.

YouTube, “Microsoft AI breakthrough in automatic image captioning.”

The Verge, James Vincent, “Microsoft’s new image-captioning AI will help accessibility in Word, Outlook, and beyond.”


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