Facebook invests in Artificial Intelligence in Montreal as first city
Facebook invests in Artificial Intelligence- 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?