- Facebook has become one of the most advanced technology research centers in the world.
- Facebook AI developments are starting to shape the way humans interact with computers.
- Head of Facebook AI research Yann LeCun wants to build the best AI research lab in the world, and machines that think and learn.
- Facebook has strategies to monetize intermediate applications of AI research results to future user interfaces.
- Facebook's approach, both visionary and pragmatic, makes Facebook's stock a solid buy for all investors.
We know how Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been working to bring virtual reality to the masses while forging strategic partnerships to leverage its Oculus acquisition. However, as per recent news, there could be more happening under the hood, with developments in artificial intelligence.
Popular Science is running a story on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments at Facebook. Facebook has quickly become one of the most advanced technology research centers in the world, and the company's AI developments have accelerated to the point that AI will surely shape the way humans interact with computers.
The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) team works on solving generalized AI problems, and smaller groups like Language Technology and Facebook M work on deploying practical features to users.
In June, Amigobulls reported on AI developments at Facebook, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and other top tech companies. In particular, Facebook is aggressively building its AI research capabilities at the FAIR main office is in New York City and a Menlo Park lab. Recently the company opened a new AI research lab in Paris to work on long-term research projects in image recognition, natural language processing, and speech recognition.
"It’s our hope that this research will ultimately help us make services like News Feed, photos and search even better and enable an entirely new set of ways to connect and share," said Yann LeCun, the head of Facebook AI research. The company aims to create "a computer that can talk to you," added Facebook AI researcher Jason Weston. "The next step is to create an accompanying framework more akin to long-term memory, which could lead to machines capable of reasoning."
Thinking, feeling, lovable software assistants like Samantha, played by the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson in the Academy Award winning science fiction film Her, come to mind.
LeCun, who among many achievements was the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award and one of the creators of the popular compressed digital document format DjVu, was hired to lead Facebook's AI research program in December 2013 with a very broad and ambitious mandate. "You can put together a world-class research lab and I expect you to build the best research lab in AI in the world," Facebook's creator Mark Zuckergerg told LeCun.
In a public Facebook Q&A session in June, Zuckerberg gave intriguing hints at Facebook's research in AI and other advanced technologies that could power Facebook in the future. Zuckerberg emphasized that most of Facebook's AI work is focused on understanding the meaning of what people share. Facebook is building systems that can recognize everything that appears in an image or a video, including people, objects, and scenes, and understand the context of the image or video as well.
“Right now, even the best AI systems are dumb,” said LeCun. But Facebook is focusing on building smarter machines that can learn well enough to understand the world around them. "This is one of the biggest, most complicated scientific challenges of our time," said LeCun. While the long-term goal - computers that learn and think - is still far ahead, Facebook has strategies to monetize the intermediate "low-hanging fruits" of its AI research along the way.
“If we have an idea that actually works, within a month it can be in front of 1.5 billion people,” LeCun said, “Lets keep our eyes focused on the horizon, where our long-term goal is, but on the way there are a lot of things that we’re going to build that are going to have applications in the short term.”
For example, early applications of AI research on computer vision can already be seen in the automatic tagging of photos, and the next step is video. In fact, AI technology will be a powerful help for Facebook's recently launched Facebook's initiatives in video and VR publishing and advertising. Similarly, Facebook's Language Technology group, working in close collaboration with the AI research team, develops practical applications to translation, speech recognition, and natural language understanding - all critical elements of Facebook's future user interfaces. In August the company announced Facebook M, a personal assistant backed by artificial intelligence, directly integrated into Messenger.
It's evident that Facebook is one of the companies that are building the future of AI, which makes Facebook's stock an excellent long term investment. At the same time, visionary AI research is combined with a down-to-earth business approach, which makes Facebook's stock a solid buy for all investors.