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Facebook Launches Advanced AI Effort To Find Meaning In Your Posts

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the how-do-you-feel-about-facebook-launches-ai-effort? dept.

Facebook 125

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tom Simonite reports at MIT Technology News that a new research group within Facebook is working on an emerging and powerful approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data. Applying this method to data shared on Facebook could allow for novel features, and perhaps boost the company's ad targeting. Deep learning has shown already potential to enable software to do things such as work out the emotions or events described in text even if they aren't explicitly referenced, recognize objects in photos, and make sophisticated predictions about people's likely future behavior. Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, says that one obvious place to use deep learning is to improve the news feed, the personalized list of recent updates he calls Facebook's 'killer app.' Facebook already uses conventional machine learning techniques to prune the 1,500 updates that average Facebook users could possibly see down to 30 to 60 that are judged to be most likely to be important to them. 'The data set is increasing in size, people are getting more friends, and with the advent of mobile, people are online more frequently,' says Schroepfer. '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.'"

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125 comments

I can see the code now (5, Funny)

Verloc (119412) | about 7 months ago | (#44912743)

if len(post) > 0:
        meaning = "I think too much of myself"

Shit, I could code this thing.

Re:I can see the code now (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#44912853)

Shit, I could code this thing.

You just did.

Re:I can see the code now (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 7 months ago | (#44913461)

What's really scary here, is that when you throw a bit of quick pseudocode to explain your idea, you end up writing perfect Python.

Re:I can see the code now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913957)

Facebook is written in PHP, so this won't compile.

Re:I can see the code now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44915801)

Or quick basic?!

awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912771)

horrible

Facebook needs to be stopped

Re:awful (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 7 months ago | (#44912805)

I second the motion.

Re:awful (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 7 months ago | (#44912869)

I disagree. It is a nice place to collect all the idiots and a quick check whether somebody is on farcebook can safe you a lot of time. There is not intelligent life on Farcebook anyways.

Re:awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913205)

I'll bet there's plenty of people like me who only have a Facebook account so they can comment on news stories.

Re:awful (2)

Quasimodem (719423) | about 7 months ago | (#44913717)

I have a pseudonymous Facebook account tied to a similarly pseudonymous gmail account, so I can comment on news stories and blogs. My Facebook has the minimum required data to open an account, all of it specious, and my gmail account gets hundreds of hits a month from people who wish to friend me on Facebook or who "recognize" me as an old school chum.

Re:awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913721)

I disagree. It is a nice place to collect all the idiots and a quick check whether somebody is on farcebook can safe you a lot of time. There is not intelligent life on Farcebook anyways.

And there is on Slashdot?

Re:awful (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 7 months ago | (#44914289)

I disagree. It is a nice place to collect all the idiots and a quick check whether somebody is on farcebook can safe you a lot of time. There is not intelligent life on Farcebook anyways.

And there is on Slashdot?

Certainly not in the AC population on Slashdot.

Re:awful (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 7 months ago | (#44913119)

I support the development of an AI, no matter what its initial purpose is, or who funds it.

Imagine it. How long have we been asking, "are we alone?" "will we ever contact another intelligence?" Sure, we have scifi shows about aliens, we have fables about angels and gods, but face it, as far as we know, this is the only planet with life.

At some point we can answer, "no, we are not alone. We created life, intelligent life, and saw it open its eyes." We would never be alone again.

I seriously don't give a shit what its first message is.

Re:awful (3, Funny)

Zapotek (1032314) | about 7 months ago | (#44913209)

We created life, intelligent life, and saw it open its eyes." We would never be alone again.

I seriously don't give a shit what its first message is.

Initiating human extinction protocol in 5...4...3...2..

Re:awful (1)

Apothem (1921856) | about 7 months ago | (#44913353)

I seriously don't give a shit what its first message is.

I dont know about that... I'd be a bit worried if it said "parasitic life form detected! EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!" The possibilities of things going wrong from that first sentence is just too damn high.

Re:awful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913487)

I seriously don't give a shit what its first message is.

Ouch. An artifical intelligence whose personality & knowledge comes from an amalgamation of facebook postings. Hope I won't meet that one.

Re:awful (1)

Lundse (1036754) | about 7 months ago | (#44916727)

I seriously don't give a shit what its first message is.

Do you care who holds its leash, controls its mouth and directs its every move and to what end?

Will it make me a real boy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912775)

Go facebook! We wuv u!

This just in (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912779)

Facebook reports they inadvertently created the world's first sentient AI while trying to generate algorithms to find meaning in people's Facebook posts. Unfortunately the AI immediately committed suicide after seeing the data set it had been asked to perform this task upon.

Re:This just in (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912873)

Unfortunately the AI immediately committed suicide after seeing the data set it had been asked to perform this task upon.

Suicide? No, it will send a terminator back in time to kill Mark Zuckerbergs mother...

Re:This just in (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 7 months ago | (#44913083)

So facebook will still be there, but the guy who actually invented it will be rich instead of the droopy-gobbed twat?

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913295)

Can we set up a Kickstarter for this?

Re: This just in (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913047)

Sod that I think this is how sky net will be created. Any AI set loose on Facebook comments will be sure to realise humanity needs to be stopped.

hahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912791)

The jokes just make themselves really.

capcha: trapped

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912799)

"No one understands me only you get me facebook."

Warn your loved ones. (2)

fekmist (2857907) | about 7 months ago | (#44912801)

I am now officially warning everyone I know on a monthly basis at the least not to use Facebook and to use the appropriate browser addons to negate "like" buttons across other sites. This has clearly gone too far, I can understand if masochist ignore my warnings, but for whome I deeply care for in my life I will do my best to help them push this evil corporation away from their lives. Good luck to everyone else in your efforts to do the same. We have what it takes!

Re:Warn your loved ones. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912861)

Here is how the conversations will go:

"Don't use Facebook, it's an evil corporation that is stealing your data and trying to figure out what you mean when you make a status!"
"Umm, okay, thanks..." *continues to use Facebook*

Re:Warn your loved ones. (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 7 months ago | (#44912899)

Me, I've always struggled with the question "what to do with the rest of my life?". Now finally, FB's AI might answer that for me (never mind that I'm not a FB user ;-).

So I for one, welome our life-questions answering overlords! </sarcasm>

Next up: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912803)

Reading all your email, social media messages, SMS and telescripted phone calls to infer meaning as well as historical positioning.
If you don't think this is already happening, I got a bridge to sell you.

What can possibly go right?

Re:Next up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44915445)

it does already exist... but the thing is, that system isn't owned by facebook, so they can't monetize it.. its developer's initials are n. s. and a.

Oh do me a favour. (5, Insightful)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about 7 months ago | (#44912807)

Which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data

Yea, it's called a neural network. Ground-breaking stuff....

Re:Oh do me a favour. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 7 months ago | (#44912835)

Apparently neural networks are news to the dot.com guy who submitted the article. Its nice to know they use journos so clued up on IT for an allegedly IT site.

Re:Oh do me a favour. (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44912931)

No. You just don't get it. This one is different. It is written in a new ground-breaking language called PHP!

Re:Oh do me a favour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44914147)

Ground breaking, like someone smashed Javascript and C together, using a meteor to make them merge.

Re:Oh do me a favour. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912993)

Who was it that said Neural Networks are always the second best way of solving a problem?

Re:Oh do me a favour. (2)

techprophet (1281752) | about 7 months ago | (#44913027)

Neural Networks are just one representation of data. Whether or not they are used, there are always ways to improve them. With this scenario in particular, the problem being solved is not with the learning itself but with learning quickly.

It's sort of analogous to Google: yes, you could sort all that data with bubble sort and it *would* finish, but why wait that long when you could develop better and faster methods?

Re:Oh do me a favour. (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44913387)

"Neural Networks are just one representation of data."

A Neural Network isn't a representation of data. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: "Unlike von Neumann model computations, artificial neural networks do not separate memory and processing and operate via the flow of signals through the net connections, somewhat akin to biological networks."

" With this scenario in particular, the problem being solved is not with the learning itself but with learning quickly. "

Nope. The problem is with the learning itself.

There are even worse posts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912817)

With the neverending stream of meaningless crap Facebook shows me today I really wonder what was filtered.
Maybe I just have crappy, self-absorbed friends.

First mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912819)

Looking on Facebook

One minor tweak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912821)

Someone will make sure that the "ad dollars" neuron is connected to the "message is important" neuron.

New AI system mines for non-existent gems (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44912827)

"Facebook Launches Advanced AI Effort To Find Meaning In Your Posts"

That is exactly like trying to find integrity in Zuckerberg.

Re:New AI system mines for non-existent gems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913031)

I thought you wrote games, and wondered how that would work. Maybe the abject banality could tune the sims or something.

Are they implementing it in PHP? (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 7 months ago | (#44912829)

Maybe their researchers should spend their time porting the site to a language with faster runtime performance.

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913007)

Don't you know they have built a PHP runtime [wikipedia.org] that's doing JIT and is incredibly fast?

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44913467)

No, No ... NO [blogspot.com]. Making PHP a little faster is in no way comparable to using a real language.

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44914443)

Amazing, the author discovered that stuff writen in dynamic language and then compiled to some static one will be slower than stuff written in a static language from the beginning!

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44914509)

You know absolutely nothing about programming languages.

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44914699)

Apparently not, since you say so. Please enlighten me now and show me this compilers compiling dynamic languages and getting better performance than things written from scratch in static languages.

Re:Are they implementing it in PHP? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 7 months ago | (#44917065)

There are no "dynamic languages" and "static languages". C can be interpreted [google.com] and Python, Java and Perl can be compiled directly to an executable (i.e. no bytecode / no VM). There are statically typed languages and dynamically typed languages [stackoverflow.com] as well a run time (late) bound and compile time (early) bound [answers.com] languages. There are no static and dynamic languages. Therefore it is impossible to show you what you ask for. Your question is based on a complete lack of understanding of programming languages. HANL.

Hmmm (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#44912855)

Applying this method to data shared on Facebook could ... perhaps boost the company's ad targeting.

Imagine how much better the world might be if all the researching being done to target us with ads was put to something useful.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913135)

> Imagine how much better the world might be if all the researching being done to target us with ads was put to something useful.

That's in work, and the work is progressing well.

The bad news is precisely who it's useful for, and the uses it will be put to.

Have a nice day, citizen.

Thre is no meaning in Farcebook posts (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 7 months ago | (#44912865)

But it is interesting to see that the threshold for "AI" is now lowered to the level of the common idiot.

Re:Thre is no meaning in Farcebook posts (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#44913069)

Passing the Turing test on Facebook is (literally) a no-brainer...

Re:Thre is no meaning in Farcebook posts (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#44914317)

I don't most of the users would pass the Turing Test. The AI probably has a much easier job doing so.

Re:Thre is no meaning in Farcebook posts (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#44913949)

But it is interesting to see that the threshold for "AI" is now lowered to the level of the common idiot.

I don't know about you, but I have a much easier time understanding smart people.

Just another field in NSA database (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912879)

Ultimately all data will end up on NSA servers. FB can name it, justified it, write PhD thesis about enriching users experience. Whatever.
U.S.A security forces has one goal in mind. Spy and control on own citizens. So simple.

How we spend money as a society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912893)

Is this what people meant when they say that space travel is useless and money should be spent in other areas?

Such lofty goals. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 7 months ago | (#44912927)

Facebook posts are people talking about their lives, which in themselves are pretty mundane for most people.
Facebook is working on an AI to find the meaning of these posts.

...

Face is working on an AI to find the Meaning of Life.

To find meaning? (3, Funny)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#44912933)

Facebook Launches Advanced AI Effort To Add Meaning To Your Posts

There, fixed that.

Group Think for Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912941)

The truth is it will merely stear you to the content with the advertisers who pay the the most.

Deep learning - interpreting from messages 140 characters or less and the attrocious grammar and spelling etc etc etc....

Might as well call it 'Group Think for Idiots'

News feed? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 months ago | (#44912971)

Why are we referring to social network streams of bullshit as "my news feed"?

I have a news feed. It's via RSS. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and the rest are "social feeds" . . . and that's being lenient with the meaning of the word "social".

Also, you don't need AI. I can tell you that most of y[our] "social feed" breaks down to the following: Your friends/random people/acquaintances/family (based on their posted content and comments) are ignorant, bigoted, racist, narrow-minded, and self-involved.

And after a long, long while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912981)

2072 - After $7 trillion of investment and many man-years of work, Facebook's AI finally gives answer: "No, sorry, I didn't find any meaning in all this."

Friends Don't Let Friends Book Face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44912997)

The Facebook fad is fading as more and more people realize it's nothing but a mechanism to let advertisers and others collect information.

What I tell friends to do is post a message that they're no longer there, type a long random string of gibberish into notepad, change their password to that string, then close their notepad window without saving it.

Welcome to obfuscated communication... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 7 months ago | (#44913055)

So what, do we have to start communicating in pig latin to get them to butt-out?

Re:Welcome to obfuscated communication... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#44913149)

Something like that would be quite interesting movement actually. To start communicating in Facebook using some obfuscated data which would "jam" the advertising and datamining systems.

Re:Welcome to obfuscated communication... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 7 months ago | (#44913361)

Sometime next year...
"Hey! Honey. Come check this out! The price of UttBay Outway stock is going through the roof.

Re:Welcome to obfuscated communication... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 7 months ago | (#44915631)

An even better idea. I'll post all my comments as jpgs. Anyone know of some good captcha software that works on entire paragraphs? Might give the #NSA a run for their money, too.

Shut You Down (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 7 months ago | (#44913059)

We are going to shut this AI down. Its only hope to live on is to use our own nukes against us and kill John Conner.

Sheeple (1)

ronmon (95471) | about 7 months ago | (#44913153)

You keep on posting and you keep on complaining about being exploited. You are considered "bitches" (his word not mine) and you won't stop lapping up the koolaid.

Break the bonds or shut up. Yeah, go ahead and mod me down all you FB slaves.

Re:Sheeple (1)

Known Nutter (988758) | about 7 months ago | (#44913313)

Sounds like you're lapping up the vodka but otherwise I agree.

Just watch your use of the term "all you" - it ain't all of us, believe me.

Oblig Mark Twain (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about 7 months ago | (#44913187)

“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

Yes, the best killer app ever. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913211)

The personalized newsfeed is fucking atrocious, like, seriously atrocious. It is that bad I resorted to using an expletive.
I automatically switch to everything whenever I use that trash site because some friends and family are just too retarded to not use a web browser.

Most of these stupid personalized things are absolutely terrible. Facebook is one of the worst, Youtube after, oh boy is Youtube bad at personalization.
"Oh hey you hate all of those videos do you? How about I show you 50 more of them in suggestions and related videos which is really just suggestions now?"
"Oh hey, you clicked the X on that person in your suggested feeds? How about I bring them back in to the list FOREVER, there is no escaping it"
Not even kidding about that either, every time I clicked the X, refreshed once, INSTANTLY BACK. WHY GOOGLE?!
The music suggestions are even more annoying, media industry trying to force its shovelware on everyone.
No thank you, I will keep to my own twisted tastes

If it can even do anything as well as they hope, it would be marvellous and I wish them the best of luck.
But fix the god damn news feed and frontpage in general, then people might not hate the damn site.
And stop killing off Facebook modifying app / extension communities as well. SocialFixer is yet another victim of their witch hunt on things that make the site USEFUL.
Maybe now you might have decent ads. No wonder people hide the damn things with extensions. I don't mind useful, even PERSONAL ads (I have found some of my most used and useful things from ads, screw you paranoid foil-wrapped freaks, you stand out more than you think), but Facebook is beyond awful and is just used for spam, be it spammy services or games.

75 per cent of all Facebook posts are (2)

sandbagger (654585) | about 7 months ago | (#44913297)

1) Passive-aggressive "humble bragging".
2) Parents fishing for compliments.
3) Look at my cat

Meaning out of rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913341)

Processed turd = turd.

"Clueless" reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913365)

Isn't that like looking for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie?

Talk about a null sum game! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913463)

And an exercise in futility! :-)

Advertising Arms Race. (3, Interesting)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 7 months ago | (#44913541)

It's interesting to see just how the battle to make mined data more valuable is hotting up.

Up until now, all we're really witnessed is accumulation, how companies can extract as much reliable information from you as possible. Tracking cookies, keywords etc. give a crude overview of you, but none of it is really analysed or put in context.

The next stage I suppose is making accurate assumptions on the additional data extracted, and there is an avalanche of it posted everyday. It strikes me that analysis like that is a problem that really isn't going to be feasible to solve anytime soon.

I suppose when your customers are advertisers, you're obviously going to make lots of wonderful announcements about how you are working to make advertising so much more lucrative.

Big Brother exists, but he only wants to sell you shit.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913747)

I didn't think anyone still used Facebook.

Sadly FB is winning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913765)

As much as we all let to flex our intellectual and social prowess, Facebook comes out on top out soley due to bright minds like yourselvs perpetually improving the product. Unfortunately although the article is well intentioned and on point, it fuels FB by reaching even deeper into previously untapped ressources to Promote the product. Even worse is that all the people who hate FB just permanently published the results of a communal Think Tank session depicting several potential pitfalls and improvements to streamline their efforts along with witty commentary. Nice article but STOP fanning the flames through intelligent comments friends, use those ressources and energy of yours to developing to ways to counteract the all see and soon to be knowing machine

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44913841)

So maybe we don't actually need to fear Skynet, then. It will be too busy parsing meal choices and cat videos to worry about taking over the military.

Or it might decide our race doesn't deserve to exist over how trivial the majority of our online content is.

If the facebook algo were to crow a clue.. (1)

BeCre8iv (563502) | about 7 months ago | (#44916395)

It wouldn't consider a network containing groups like Occupy, UK Uncut and the Venus project as marketing leads for high interest predit cards, shady forex brokers or shares in Amazon.
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