To its credit, Microsoft has developed a free app to assist people with low vision. Using imagery captured by a mobile phone, the app’s artificial intelligence (AI) attempts to describe what it sees.
It’s pretty good at reading labels and signs. That’s useful. Facial recognition is supposed to detect the presence of friends and identify them by name. If it works, it might be a good idea to keep pictures of enemies in your database, too … to know when they are around.
Naturally, I wondered what Microsoft would have to say about art. I pointed my iPad camera at one of Helen’s early palette knife oils … a cityscape of Vancouver.
“Probably a picture hanging on a wall,” the app reported accurately. Hmmm.
A detail from a Stefan Berg linocut stumped the algorithm completely.
“No faces detected”.
OK, the app in its present state won’t make a very interesting companion during visits to the art gallery, but these are early days. The app will learn.
What it will learn remains an open question. At first, it will probably just regurgitate descriptions it has been fed.
But AI teaches itself. I wonder what critical insights we might be in for. 🤓