Mon­treal-Face­book ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence con­nec­tion

Montreal Times - - NEWS -

Face­book has been in­vest­ing in Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (A.I.) and so has Mon­treal.The city's rep­u­ta­tion in the field was sig­nif­i­cant enough to cap­ture the so­cial net­work­ing gi­ant's at­ten­tion.With gov­ern­ment sup­port­ing A.I. re­search, along with some of the world's top re­searchers al­ready es­tab­lished here and uni­ver­si­ties and com­pa­nies in place - the con­nec­tion was made.

On Fri­day Septem­ber 15th, Face­book an­nounced that Mon­treal will be the first city in Canada they will in­vest in - one of four Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence re­search labs they have al­ready set up, which in­clude labs in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Paris and New York.

Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence is 'the the­ory and de­vel­op­ment of com­puter sys­tems able to per­form tasks that nor­mally re­quire hu­man in­tel­li­gence, such as vis­ual per­cep­tion, speech recog­ni­tion, de­ci­sion-mak­ing, and trans­la­tion be­tween lan­guages or sim­ply:Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence is the sim­u­la­tion of hu­man in­tel­li­gence by ma­chines'.

Face­book’s chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer Mike Schroepfer, was cited as say­ing in a Gazette news­pa­per re­port that 'the idea is users could ask Face­book for an up­date on a fam­ily mem­ber, the news or even a friend they haven’t seen in while that they might want to catch up with. In the fu­ture, Face­book wants to re­place click­ing but­tons and tap­ping on screens with nat­u­ral con­ver­sa­tions'. And Mon­treal is go­ing to help make that hap­pen.

The Mon­treal In­sti­tute for Learn­ing Al­go­rithms at Univer­sité de Mon­tréal and McGill Univer­sity will part­ner with Face­book in their new re­search lab, which they plan to in­vest more than $7 mil­lion into it. McGill Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Joëlle Pineau, who spe­cial­izes in com­puter science, with her work fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing new mod­els and al­go­rithms for plan­ning and learn­ing in ro­bot­ics, will head the lab.

The Face­book Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Lab (FAIR) is al­ready open with 10 re­searchers to start and the goal of hav­ing up to 20-30 re­searchers by next year.

As a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the McGill Re­porter states, 'Face­book is one of the most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy re­search in­sti­tu­tions in the world.Their sci­en­tists and re­searchers are try­ing to im­i­tate hu­man in­tel­li­gence by get­ting com­put­ers to think more like the free form as­so­cia­tive hu­man brain and less like ma­chines. Face­book al­ready uses AI to pro­vide cap­tions for videos, and help vis­ually im­paired users to “see” by de­scrib­ing pho­tos. AI is used by Face­book to re­move spam and other ob­jec­tion­able con­tent.

With 2 bil­lion monthly ac­tive users Face­book is part of a lot of peo­ple’s lives, es­pe­cially Cana­di­ans. Cana­di­ans are the most ac­tive Face­book users in the world. More than 19 mil­lion Cana­di­ans are now log­ging onto Face­book at least once ev­ery month - that’s more than half the pop­u­la­tion, while 14 mil­lion check their news­feed ev­ery day'.

It's all quite fas­ci­nat­ing and even ex­cit­ing on many fronts - but it might lead one to ques­tion, just how much more of this tech­nol­ogy is needed? When does ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence start tak­ing way from hu­man in­tel­li­gence? Or is it al­ready do­ing that?

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