The Real Reason Microsoft Is Building So Many Computer Vision Apps

For the past few years, Microsoft has been steadily releasing goofy little apps that use neural networks to perform tricks ranging from guessing your age and rating your mustache to describing photographs (often comically) and even telling you what kind of dog you look like. But why? Entertaining though these apps are, they all seemed a little random—until a couple of weeks ago at Build 2016, when Microsoft revealed that these experiments are more than just a sum of their parts. In fact, they represent stepping stones on the road leading to Seeing AI, an augmented-reality project for the visually impaired that aims to give the blind the next best thing to sight: information. Built by Microsoft Research, Seeing AI is an app that lives either on smartphones or Pivothead-brand…


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