Before you read this little piece of fiction I’d like to say a couple of things.
Though See4Me is fictional, such apps exist. They are making great strides in artificial intelligence and image recognition which is being engineered to help blind people live more independent lives. These truly are the days of miracles and wonder.
This story, or idea, is based on my own experience with a similar app. The below scenario popped into my head and now I’m terrified to use the app. I have deleted it from my phone.
We’re all afraid of what is out there, unseen, in the darkness, beyond our perceptions… Even those of us to whom darkness is a constant companion.
I hope you enjoy.
24 hours with See4Me
This is a quick review I want to do of an app I’ve just downloaded called See4Me.
for those of you not familiar with See4Me, it’s an app for blind people, like myself, who most likely live alone. It uses artificial intelligence to describe the world. So, for example, the first thing I pointed my phone at was a vase on the windowsill and See4You said ‘Vase’. It’s amazing. I think there are still a few bugs though as it then said ‘face’. I’m guessing it might have been confused by the plant in the vase.
I also got ‘knee’, ‘armpit’, ‘hand’, ’two fingers raised’… It identified my computer correctly, ‘Apple mac air’. It even told me that ‘a white car’ drove past my house as I held my iPhone out the window. Still, it kept calling the carpet ‘grass’ and couldn’t identify my butt. I’m hurt. 😦
Anyway. I’m going to keep a record of using it throughout the day. I can picture this becoming a great tool for me.
Okay, I’ve had the app installed for a few hours now. I used it to identify a tin of beans to have with my dinner and a CD I’m now listening too. Ages since I’ve listened to a CD. The app actually read out the title, Barry White, Greatest Hits… Oh Yeah. Hello ladies. 😉
Saying that, it’s still misidentifying objects. When in continuous mode, where you can sweep, it’s said ‘face’ no less than four times. I tweeted the developer who told me that it’s called a ‘false positive’, where the artificial intelligence is simply misidentifying objects. Despite such niggles, it’s still an impressive app. Would be amazing to have it connected to a glasses mounted camera.
Okay, now this is getting creepy. It’s just after 3 AM and I’m in my room again. I just went to the bathroom. I don’t sleep well and was trying to find the Nytol, and with See4Me on continuous mode I managed to go through the medical cabinet and find the sleeping tablets but, and this is going to sound silly, when I turned around the app still running it again said ‘face’. Now, it’s probably just that I’m tired and the quiet of the house is kinda creepy in itself but, well, why does it keep saying ‘face’? I live alone. I’m certain there is no one in the house… Certain. Maybe I should try it again here in my room. Though, if it says it again, I think I might just scream. I’m sure I’ll laugh about this in the morning. I’ve just spooked myself. It’s just a ‘ghost’ in the machine, as it were. 🙂
Oh God… It didn’t say ‘face’ this time. No. It said ‘Man smiling.’.