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article imageFacebook continues to invest heavily in AI

By Lisa Cumming     May 7, 2018 in Technology
With the announcement that they're opening two new AI labs, Facebook continues to cement themselves as a leader in AI research.
The two new labs, in Seattle and Pittsburgh, join four others in Menlo Park, New York, Paris, Montréal and Tel Aviv
AI a win for Facebook
This year at F8, Facebook's annual developer conference, Mark Zuckerburg told the audience, “The world would lose if Facebook went away. We have a responsibility to move forward on what everyone else expects from us, to keep building in meaningful ways.”
Facebook's AI research department, FAIR, does open research in AI. They publish on GitHub.
Top AI talent
In March, GeekWire reported on Facebook's hiring of top AI researcher Luke Zettlemoyer from Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, making the announcement that the social media giant is bringing an AI lab to Seattle not surprising. At the time, Facebook spokesman Ari Entin told GeekWire that Zettlemoyer's hiring was a “very significant investment area.”
At the F8 conference, Facebook researchers spoke at length about their work with AI. Their projects currently range from the social impact of AI to the company's audio and speech understanding systems.
At the recent congressional sessions, Wired reported that Zuckerburg "referenced AI more than 30 times in explaining how the company would better police activity on its platform." CTO of Facebook Mike Schroepfer told F8 conference-goers, “AI is the best tool we have to keep our community safe at scale.” Endgadget reported that, as per what Shroepfer said at F8, Facebook has plans to "[invest] heavily in artificial intelligence research and [find] ways to make it work at a large scale without much (if any) human supervision."
Prediction-based ads?
In April, The Intercept reported on a confidential document that outlined a new advertising service from Facebook that offers advertisers the opportunity to target users based on predictions made about future habits by the AI-powered FBLearner Flow.
So what does all this translate to? Facebook is investing heavily to position itself as, not a, but the leader in AI research. From hiring leading researchers in AI from universities and other institutions to expanding their presence globally, the company—as they say on their website—is looking "to solve AI."
But, these moves haven't come without criticism. A New York Times article interviewed professors from the universities that Facebook has been recruiting from about their worries over academics leaving academia for the private sector faster than they can be replaced.
More about Artificial intelligence, Ai, Facebook
 
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