The advent of Artificial Intelligence has already taken the world by storm, and with new applications rolling out every other day, the buzz ain’t stopping anytime soon. The technology has been quite useful in several areas, including Picture-to-Text transformation, allowing for a whole new level of accessibility in numerous sectors.
Earlier, without this technology, different sectors such as self-driving cars, e-commerce, media and education were not able to maximize their efficiency. Prior to AI, accessibility standards and guidelines were not as comprehensive or specific regarding the accessibility of visual information.
For example, visual information, such as charts were not understood by people who are visually impaired. Besides, visual content was often not accompanied by sufficient textual descriptions to convey the information contained within.
With numerous challenges in place, AI is helping in mitigating these limitations and offering better solutions with improved efficiency. How? Follow our detailed guide to find out more.
Understanding the Technology: Picture-to-Text
In general terms, picture-to-text technology functions by extracting text out of any image. For example, if a sign says “Stop”, picture-to-text technology will be able to identify it. The mechanism works by using various technologies with Optical Character Recognition being the most popular.
What is Optical Character Recognition? How Does it Work?
In simplest terms, Optical Character Recognition technology is used to extract text out of images, making it editable for the users. The technology works by incorporating several elements including processing, machine learning algorithms, and rule-based methods for accurate segmentation. The tech has become quite useful as it reduces the time required to transcribe the text out of an image.
Here is a quick summary of how OCR works
- After acquiring an image, OCR begins with preprocessing it, which means that the image is processed in terms of brightness, contrast, sharpness, and other factors to make it more readable. Extra elements are cropped out at this stage.
- The next step is called Text Localization. This process tries to identify the text-based content of an image by eliminating everything other than text, such as images. Edge detection and connected component analysis are performed to ensure it happens smoothly.
- Now, Optical Character Segmentation is done, which involves separating the characters or words to be recognized separately by using contour detection and projection profiling methods.
- Once this is done, feature and character recognition begins. In these steps, elements like stroke size, shape, and texture based properties as well as alphabet recognition is performed using tech like Multilayer Perceptron.
- Upon completion of the above-mentioned steps, post-processing and final checks take place where the text is double-checked to mark accuracy and give the closest possible outcome of what was seen in the image.
How AI is Changing Picture-to-Text?
OCR Technology has been used in numerous picture-to-text programs for several years now. However, with the arrival of AI, things are about to change. With the arrival of AI, OCR technology has improved significantly. For example, now, if there is a signboard with a hand pointing to the left, the AI will be able to extract the meaning out of this sign which could be “Go to the left”. Earlier, only “text” data from images could be extracted and processed digitally. However, with the arrival of AI models, this aspect has improved even further as AI can understand the context of pictures too.
As a matter of fact, AI has become so sophisticated that it can even extract the context out of an image and explain it to the user. This was tested by a group of programmers at OpenAI who provided an image of a VGA connector connected to a smartphone’s charging port. The prompt was “What is funny about this image? Describe it panel by panel”. Surprisingly, GPT-4 understood that a VGA connector cannot be connected to a smartphone’s port, and said “The humor in this image comes from the absurdity of plugging a large, outdated VGA connector into a small modern smartphone charging port”.
The Tech Behind Picture-to-Text AI
As AI is being improved on a consistent basis, it is evident that the conventional picture-to-text technology will also be revolutionized and made better. Considering the above example, it is evident that AI will be able to improve the picture-to-text conversion not only from text-based images, but also from pictorial illustrations. This is because it has the capability to reason an image like a human being and provide its contextual meaning as well.
Language Learning Models
Artificial Intelligence is based on Language Learning Models, where the system is constantly learning how to write a specific language. For example, Chat GPT have been trained on language learning models in a way that now they can understand and give responses in different languages with more training on the way.
The OCR technology is used to identify alphabets based on their shapes while AI models can leverage visual information along with contextual understanding, language models, and semantic understanding to improve the accuracy and interpretation of an image to be converted into text.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP (Natural Language Processing) is a field of computer science and artificial intelligence that focuses on the interaction between computers and human language. The technology is used in AI as it focuses on the development and application of computational models, algorithms, as well as techniques to process , and generate natural language text. This technique aims to enable computers to effectively understand, interpret, and respond to human language in a manner that is both meaningful and contextually appropriate.
Natural language processing plays a significant role in image-to-text converter technology. Once the text is extracted from the image, NLP techniques are employed to process and understand the textual content. As a result of NLP techniques, the resultant text from an image-to-text program is way more clearer, and with a higher accuracy rate. This means that there are minimal chances of incomplete or inaccurate text output.
- Sentiment analysis can be used to determine the emotional tone or sentiment expressed in the text.
- Entity recognition helps identify named entities like people, organizations, and locations mentioned in the text.
Neural networks are a class of machine learning models inspired by the human brain and utilize interconnected nodes in layered structures to process data.
- By employing different types of deep learning techniques, neural networks analyze images and extract text from them.
- The network learns from vast amounts of labeled data. Ultimately, this helps the system in accurately identifying and transcribing text present in various formats, such as documents, signs, or captions.
- Through this training process, the neural network becomes proficient at deciphering different fonts, languages, and writing styles.
The adaptive nature of neural networks allows them to improve their performance over time by continuously refining their understanding of text patterns. This ensures higher accuracy and efficiency in the conversion process, even when dealing with complex or distorted text within images.
Computer vision technology enables AI systems to analyze and interpret visual content within images..
- The Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) breaks down images into pixels and assigns tags or labels to them, enabling the system to perform convolutions and make predictions.
- Through iterations and refining predictions, CNN improves its accuracy in recognizing and interpreting images.
- Similar to human perception, CNN starts by identifying basic shapes and edges, gradually filling in details to understand single images.
- This combined approach of machine learning and CNN enables image-to-text converters to effectively process visual information.
Language modeling involves the abstract understanding of natural language, which is essential for inferring word probabilities based on context. This understanding enables various tasks in the image-to-text converter.
- One important task is lemmatization or stemming in which words are reduced to their basic forms, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of tokens.
- Part-of-speech tagging is another task facilitated by language modeling, as it helps identify the role of a word in a sentence. This distinction is particularly useful for algorithms that handle different word forms based on their grammatical category.
- With a robust language model, extractive or abstractive summarization of texts becomes possible. The model can generate concise summaries by extracting key information or by generating new sentences that capture the essence of the text.
How AI is Making Visual Information More Accessible?
Due to rapid advancement of AI networks, and their use in image-to-text converters, it is now becoming possible for the impaired to understand information that they once could not.
The main reason behind this is contextual understanding. Visual information like charts, graphs, pictorial illustrations, or other images, cannot be understood by visually impaired people. However, since AI networks possess the ability to understand this information, they can easily convert it into a text format, which can then be converted into audio. This audio can then be heard and understood by a visually impaired person.
What’s even more useful about it is that the AI systems like ChatGPT can further explain it to the users, upon being asked a question regarding the image/text. The process keeps getting better as AI systems use such data to train their networks and offer even better responses in the future.
Future of Picture-to-Text AI
There are going to be even more benefits of picture to text AI technology in the future.
- With the passage of time and more data to work with, Artificial intelligence systems will make the entire process of converting images to text more advanced. The AI systems will be able to assess and evaluate complex images, such as medical diagrams, like an ultrasound, possibly better than how humans can. Ultimately, a text response based on what an AI system understands from the picture will make things more accurate, efficient and smart with lesser margin of error.
- AI systems will improve to and will soon be able to understand difficult handwriting, such as a doctor’s prescription. Although this is quite tough because of the unusual handwriting, with adaptive learning techniques, it is possible for an AI model to learn this form of writing.
- Besides, Image-to-text AI systems will be accessible on smartphones. This will enable users to conveniently perform image-to-text processing on their mobile devices.
Future systems will aim to handle more complex document formats, such as multi-column layouts, tables, and stylized text. This will involve advancements in layout analysis, document structure understanding, and intelligent handling of various formatting elements to accurately extract and represent the text from such documents.
The use of AI in image-to-text converters is revolutionizing the accessibility of visual information for various industries and individuals, including people with visual imparities. The use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) combined with AI neural networks, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and language modeling has significantly improved the accuracy and efficiency of extracting text from images. Future advancements in AI will further enhance accessibility, productivity, and usability, making visual information accessible to all.