As humans, we use multiple senses to absorb information from the world around us. For example, we see a busy street and hear the sounds of car engines. However, machines have traditionally learned from a single modality, such as text or image. That is until now. Meta has introduced ImageBind, the first AI model that can bind information from six modalities - text, image/video, audio, depth, thermal, and inertial measurement units (IMU). The model learns a shared representation space, not just for a single modality but for multiple modalities, enabling machines to understand the world in a way that's closer to human perception.
ImageBind has the ability to outperform specialist models that have been trained individually for one particular modality, according to a paper published by Meta. The model aims to advance AI by allowing machines to better analyze many different forms of information together, creating more accurate ways to recognize, connect, and moderate content, and boost creative design, such as generating richer media more seamlessly and creating wider multimodal search functions.
The approach of ImageBind, which is now open-sourced, represents an important step forward in AI research. It enables machines to learn simultaneously, holistically, and directly from different forms of information without the need for explicit supervision, which is the process of organizing and labeling raw data. As the number of modalities increases, ImageBind opens the door to the development of new, holistic systems, such as combining 3D and IMU sensors to design or experience immersive, virtual worlds.
In typical AI systems, there is a specific embedding (that is, vectors of numbers that can represent data and their relationships in machine learning) for each respective modality. ImageBind, however, shows that it’s possible to create a joint embedding space across multiple modalities without the need to train on data with every different combination of modalities. Instead, ImageBind leverages recent large-scale vision-language models and extends their zero-shot capabilities to new modalities just by using their natural pairing with images, such as video-audio and image-depth data, to learn a single joint embedding space. For the other modalities (audio, depth, thermal, and IMU readings), naturally paired self-supervised data is used.
One of the benefits of ImageBind is its strong scaling behavior. ImageBind enables cross-modal retrieval of different types of content that aren’t observed together, the addition of embeddings from different modalities to naturally compose their semantics, and audio-to-image generation by using the audio embeddings with a pretrained DALLE-2 decoder to work with CLIP text embeddings.
ImageBind is part of Meta's efforts to create multimodal AI systems that learn from all possible types of data around them. With the ability to use several modalities for input queries and retrieve outputs across other modalities, ImageBind opens new possibilities for creators. For example, a creator could take a video recording of an ocean sunset and add the perfect audio clip to enhance it, or an image of a brindle Shih Tzu could yield essays or depth models of similar dogs.
In conclusion, ImageBind represents a significant step forward in AI research, enabling machines to learn holistically from multiple modalities without explicit supervision. As the number of modalities increases, ImageBind opens the door to the development of new, holistic systems, which can enable machines to better analyze many different forms of information together. We hope that the research community will explore ImageBind and its accompanying published paper to find new ways to evaluate vision models and lead to novel applications.