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

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  • by Verloc ( 119412 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:34PM (#44912743)

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

    Shit, I could code this thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:41PM (#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.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      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...

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

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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.

  • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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*

    • 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: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:44PM (#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?

  • Oh do me a favour. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pino Grigio ( 2232472 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:45PM (#44912807)

    Which uses simulated networks of brain cells to process data

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

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

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

    • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @03:13PM (#44912931) Homepage
      No. You just don't get it. This one is different. It is written in a new ground-breaking language called PHP!
    • 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?
      • "Neural Networks are just one representation of data."

        A Neural Network isn't a representation of data. From Wikipedia []: "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.

        • "Neural Networks are just one representation of data."

          an (artificial) neural network is a predictor which learns from data which has been around for some time. the grandparent meant the particular breakthrough that enable deep learning (which is the training neural networks with a lot of layers between input and output) was to figure out how to learn quickly. Previously, training these deep networks would take a lot of time to converge or not converge at all.

          • Yes. Something that learns from data isn't a representation of data. I learn from data; I'm not a representation of data.
  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:49PM (#44912827) Homepage

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

    That is exactly like trying to find integrity in Zuckerberg.

  • Maybe their researchers should spend their time porting the site to a language with faster runtime performance.
  • Facebook's AI is now the leading troller on posts.

  • I got bored just reading this post.
  • 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.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @02:58PM (#44912865)

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

  • 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.

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @03:13PM (#44912933)
    Facebook Launches Advanced AI Effort To Add Meaning To Your Posts

    There, fixed that.
  • 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.

  • So what, do we have to start communicating in pig latin to get them to butt-out?
    • 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.
      • Sometime next year...
        "Hey! Honey. Come check this out! The price of UttBay Outway stock is going through the roof.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Brad1138 ( 590148 ) <> on Saturday September 21, 2013 @03:46PM (#44913073)
    Is if I can't even get FB to like my posts...
  • 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.

    • 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.

  • is no match for natural stupidity.
  • “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."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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 su

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @04:32PM (#44913297)

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

  • by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Saturday September 21, 2013 @05:17PM (#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.

  • humans can't figure that &#$* out.
  • that it will be impossible to find any significant meaning in my facebook posts.

  • 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.
  • Good effin' luck trying to gain insight into me based on the posts I make on your site. Especially now that I know that you're trying to figure me out as a person, what I like, what I'll buy, etc. based on those posts. (How long before FB's new algorithm decides "They're all schizoid!"?

  • Nobody likes your "Top Stories" thing now. People perpetually complain about how they're missing "updates" from friends because they don't know about this "feature". And even those of us who do know about it can't turn it off because you don't make the setting "sticky". And even those of us who know about it and know about ways to make the setting "sticky" are getting a little tired of you fucking with those tools to break them.

  • Facebook’s journey from college friends sharing ‘whaaas uuuupp’ deeds and photo’s, to billion dollar spy machine digesting your personal details neatly packaged and resold to marketers has been interesting.. To say the least.

    Here’s the most telling story about facebook: 6 years ago my 12 year old daughter (at the time) got me off myspace to this new site her and her click were using called facebook. A new sites single genius innovation updated all your friends pages with y
  • Cyber-hipsters. Cyber-hipsters everywhere.
  • I specifically *avoid* the "News Feed" *because* it weeds stuff out. Maybe I'm weird, but I actually want to know what my friends have to say - that's *why* I'm on facebook. I don't want anyone else blocking stuff, especially when it does such a crappy job as facebook does, blocking way too much, yet not blocking the crap like "games people are playing" and "trending" that *facebook* sticks in there that I couldn't care less about.

    And speaking of "anyone", one of the defenses against snooping through peop

  • and it is depressing, reading about millions being poured into the search for "meaning" by dredging the bottomless well of narcissism we call Facebork. Thank goodness for all the wonderfully funny/insightful /. comments! I am happy and completely distracted.
  • There's no meaning in FB posts.
  • I am convinced that people are not thinking when they are posting to Facebook. However, I do not want Facebook or anyone else trying to figure out what I am thinking or going to be thinking in the future. I don't care what the reasoning behind it is. I DO NOT want my news feed tailored to what Facebook thinks I want to see. I hate that they try to do this now. I miss stuff I need to see and wind up looking on junk that I don't care about. I certainly don't want advertisements geared toward me. I understand

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian