Facebook outlines its artificial intelligence vision at F8

21, April, 2017


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Facebook’s F8 developer conference, held earlier this week in San Jose, has resulted in a plethora of headlines, from Android UI and VR frameworks to partnerships on the enterprise side with Dropbox, Salesforce and more. But how does artificial intelligence (AI) fit into these announcements?

The answer: quite a lot. Take the news around Workplace, Facebook’s enterprise collaboration tool. The company is not only developing bots to help its customers, but also using them internally. One example Facebook gave was from its own recruiting team, which has built a chat bot giving interviewers a notification 30 minutes before a scheduled interview with all the information they need about the prospective candidate.

No more running around like a headless chicken printing off CVs at the last minute there then. But there is plenty more beyond this.

Chief of these is the news that Facebook aims to develop a camera infused with artificial intelligence across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. “With the ability to run cutting edge AI and computer vision algorithms on the device, this camera can now understand your surroundings, recognise people, places and things,” the company said.

Alongside that, Facebook is developing partnerships with Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and others in the first production-ready release of Caffe2, an open source deep learning framework. The release, which will include documentations and tutorials, is explained thus by Caffe2. “Training and deploying AI models is often associated with massive data centres or super computers, with good reason,” the company explained. “The ability to continually process, create, and improve models from all kinds of information – images, video, text and voice – at massive scale is no small computing eat.

“Deploying these models on mobile devices so they’re fast and lightweight can be equally daunting. Overcoming these challenges requires a robust, flexible, and portable deep learning framework.”

The main analysis was overwhelming from the majority of the tech press. “Facebook’s future: first destroy Snapchat, then own reality”, wrote Wired. “Facebook brews Caffe2 AI toolkit so apps can give Snapchat a slap”, argued The Register. “Facebook aims to crush Snapchat with augmented reality,” opined CIO. “It’s clear that Facebook shares Snap Inc’s view that the phone camera will increasingly become our main window on the world, and that augmented reality is the natural next step,” wrote Oliver Franklin-Wallis. “Therefore, whoever owns that window, wins.”

Find out more about Facebook’s AI vision here.

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