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Facebook embraces AI

Regardless of how frightening or exhilarating the prospect, there’s no avoiding artificial intelligence. As we indicated in our last blog, AI marches inexorably forward, transforming our reality and challenging our imagination. Pandora’s technological box has been flung wide open and the possibilities appear mind-boggling.

AI developments often come in surprise packages. For instance, you might think Facebook is just an innocuous way of disseminating information and socializing with family and friends. In reality, Facebook is a technological juggernaut with vast financial resources that’s on a mission to overtake Google, Apple and Microsoft and emerge as the force in artificial intelligence. Though Facebook is a relative newcomer to the AI field compared with the Big Three, the company has identified its objectives and how to achieve them.

“Facebook wants to dominate in AI and machine learning, just as it already does in social networking and instant messaging,” writes Daniel Terdiman in Facebook’s Race to Dominate, a Fast Company magazine article summarized on getAbstract.

Facebook’s strategy, Terdiman explains, centers around its two research sectors: the “Artificial Intelligence Research” (FAIR) program that focuses on long-term ideas and the “Applied Machine Learning” (AML) division that wants to rapidly incorporate AI technology into Facebook’s existing products. What makes Facebook’s approach so interesting and unique is that the company promotes an open exchange of information. Facebook engineers in other sectors are encouraged to contribute, as are non-Facebook employees.

“Facebook gets the benefit of having outsiders work on their code because if they’re good, Facebook can hire them,” Terdiman writes. “Or the company can simply adopt their improvements.”

Facebook, along with major corporations such as GE, Hilton Worldwide and IBM, is utilizing AI in its hiring practices, Fast Company reported recently. In attempting to achieve complete objectivity and overcome potential bias from hiring managers, Facebook is “using machines to scan work samples, parse social media posts, and analyze facial expressions” of job applicants, according to Fast Company.

Artificial intelligence can also be used to scour the Internet for negative information about a job candidate. Law enforcement records, social media posts and news articles may contain material that can disqualify an applicant.

Admittedly, it’s rather scary knowing what AI already can accomplish and its potential. Better watch your back out there.

 Facebook’s Race To Dominate AI

Daniel Terdiman
Fast Company, 6/2016

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