Meta launches AI model capable of cutting specific objects out of images

‘SAM’ has the potential to help advertisers by easing the process of contextualising and 'slicing and dicing' images to sell ads.

Meta has published an artificial intelligence (AI) model capable of “cutting out” any object, in any image, with a single click.

The Segment Anything Model (SAM) has been defined by Meta as a “promptable segmentation system with zero-shot generalisation to unfamiliar objects and images, without the need for additional training”.

In layman's terms, SAM uses a variety of prompt inputs specifying what to segment in an image, allowing for reliable segmentation tasks to be performed in real-time even when faced with objects and items that it didn’t encounter during its training.

SAM’s promptable design gives it a large degree of flexibility making it compatible with a range of systems such as AR/VR headsets and bounding boxes.

Meta’s first real generative AI move

Although Meta has teased releasing tools within this space, SAM is the first generative AI feature the company has created for broad user access and is available for the public to try here.

Meta said in a blog post: “We are releasing both our general Segment Anything Model (SAM) and our Segment Anything 1-Billion mask dataset (SA-1B), the largest ever segmentation dataset, to enable a broad set of applications and foster further research into foundation models for computer vision.

“We are making the SA-1B dataset available for research purposes and the Segment Anything Model is available under a permissive open licence (Apache 2.0).”

Advertisers are likely to be encouraged by the system’s release. Its ability to segment objects stands to make it much easier to 'slice and dice' images to create and sell ads. It has applications in both the digital and linear OOH space and could dramatically improve the pace at which advertisers produce complicated visuals by simplifying the contextualisation process.

The system’s introduction comes amidst a developmental arms race between big tech companies triggered by Microsoft's introduction of Open AI’s ChatGPT. Recently, Alibaba also announced its first foray into the space with the introduction of an AI powered chatbot of its own.