Facebook bug reveals AI photo interpretation: A crash related to photos on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp gave a preview of how the Facebook AI sees your images. The crash, which began on Wednesday, affected more than 1.5 billion daily active users of Facebook and made Instagram almost unusable because photos did not load. Instead, we could see descriptions on a white background such as "the image can contain: table, plant, flower and outside" and "the image can contain: tree, plant, sky." These descriptions show how Facebook's artificial intelligence interprets images.
On Twitter, people shared screenshots of how their photos were identified. "To be quite honest, 'one person, beard' is pretty much the perfect description for me," tweeted Zack Whittaker, one of TechCrunch's editors.
So how does it work? Facebook automatically scans all photos on the social network with facial and image recognition software, powered by artificial intelligence to detect who or what is represented. This is then used as part of the company's accessibility efforts to describe photos to blind or visually impaired people who access the site using a screen reader.
Facebook bug reveals AI photo interpretation
In short, Facebook uses machine learning to automatically interpret photos, then reads this interpretation out loud for blind users. Thanks to the breakdown of the photo, we have also been able to access these interpretations.
The AI sometimes misinterpreted a photo, as in the case of Fortune's journalist Danielle Abril, where it says: "5 people, including Danielle Abril, smiling people, people standing, sluts ('hoes' in English) indoors. " Let's hope there was a gardening tool on the photo ("hoes" also means "hoes") - we asked for a reaction from Danielle Abril but we did not get back immediately.
So, while there may be an innocuous explanation here, it reminds us how much data is collected by Facebook at any given time, even when we do not realize it is happening. Thanks to its increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence technology, Facebook can even collect information from something as innocuous as a holiday photo.
"Once something is readable, of course, it becomes easy to store, analyze, and retrieve data, and only when the system goes down, like today, do we realize that this is really happening." James Vincent writes from The Verge.