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.'"