Deep Learning: Facebook Wants To Know Even More About Its Users

By David Cohen 

BrainWithFeet2Facebook wants to know even more about its users than it already does, and an eight-employee group referred to within the company as the AI (artificial intelligence) team is quietly working on incorporating deep learning technology, which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data, MIT Technology Review reported.

According to MIT Technology Review, deep learning can potentially help the social network derive emotions or events from text even if they are not explicitly referenced, recognize objects in photos, and predict future behavior, possibly enabling Facebook to introduce more unique features, or to fine-tune its targeted advertising offerings.

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer would not go into details about the AI team or its work with MIT Technology Review, but he did say that an obvious focus was improving the algorithm that populates the social network’s News Feed. He added:

The data set is increasing in size, people are getting more friends, and, with the advent of mobile, people are online more frequently. It’s not that I look at my News Feed once at the end of the day; I constantly pull out my phone while I’m waiting for my friend, or I’m at the coffee shop. We have five minutes to really delight you.

Schroepfer also pointed out another potential use for deep learning — enabling its users to organize their photos and select the best ones to share.

Facebook Engineering Manager Srinivas Narayanan, who was involved in the formation of the AI team, also spoke with MIT Technology Review, saying that the process involves software and hardware that can handle large data sets, and adding:

It’s both a software and a hardware problem together; the way you scale these networks requires very deep integration of the two.

Readers: What other uses for deep learning will Facebook conjure up?

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