Wednesday April 24, 2019

“Seeing AI” : An App by Microsoft Narrates the World Around Blind People

The Seeing AI application is the latest project from Microsoft using its artificial intelligence technology

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Seeing AI application for Blind
Seeing AI app narrates the scene around the blind people. Pixabay

July 14, 2017: Microsoft has released a free iPhone app named Seeing AI, that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to tell the blind what is around them. The application can describe how the scene looks like when pointed at the park. Likewise, it can tell the amount in your bill or narrate just about anything it is pointed at.

“With this intelligent camera app, just hold up your phone and hear information about the world around you,” Microsoft said. It aims to turn the “visual world into an emphatic experience.

The app recognises people that it has seen before and even their facial expression to tell how the person is feeling. Additionally, it can also scan barcodes, read US currency and read handwritten documents. It tells you to move your camera if needed for a better view.

Microsoft calls Seeing AI as “a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the low vision community, this research project harnesses the power of AI to describe people, text and objects”. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are working on similar projects, as reported by CNET on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: “Epic Health” : New Smartphone App offers Non-Invasive Test for Diabetics

The app is also the latest project from Microsoft built using its artificial intelligence technology. The company also wants to use Artificial Intelligence to handle some of the major problems in healthcare, as visible with its Healthcare NExT initiative and a prototype wearable that helped a woman with tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Seeing AI app is now available to download for free on iOS, but only in the US. There is no statement yet on whether the app will come to other mobile platforms like Android, Windows 10 Mobile or other countries.

– by a Staff writer of Newsgram

Next Story

Microsoft Employees Decry ‘996’ Chinese Work Culture

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

A group of Microsoft employees has come forward to support Chinese tech workers on the gruelling ‘996’ culture, writing a petition in defence of a trending GitHub repository that is being censored in China.

In a letter written on web-hosting service Github, owned by Microsoft, the employees have asked the company to keep the “996.ICU” GitHub repository uncensored, The Verge reported on Monday.

The repository “996.ICU” is a reference to the working hours that tech workers in China are protesting — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

The ICU refers to employees who work under these grueling hours, eventually ending up in the Intensive Care Unit at hospitals.

“The “996.ICU” repository was established in March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork,” said the report.

The “996” philosophy has been endorsed by the tech billionaire and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma.

Several local Chinese browsers have already blocked access to 996.ICU, including Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Qihoo 360.

Microsoft, that owns GitHub, has not blocked the repository till now.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders,” wrote employees in the petition.

“Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labour standards in the pursuit of profit,” they added.

Microsoft workers called on Chinese tech companies to comply with local labour laws, which limit their workers to 40 hours a week.

“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone,” they said.

Also Read- Apple Spent Over $30 mn on Amazon Cloud in Q1 2019

Since 996.ICU is hosted on GitHub, the repository can’t be blocked at a network level without blocking the entire site, which would be catastrophic to Chinese software developers.

“The ultimate decision of whether to risk China’s GitHub access falls to Microsoft, which so far hasn’t indicated a firm position on the protests,” the report added.

The Alibaba Founder Ma has suggested that people in China should work for 72 hours in a week or 12 hours a day for six days.

“If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem. If you don’t like (your work), every minute is torture,” he said in a blog post. (IANS)