The scenes from the 2014 film Transcendence offers some level of perspective on the devastating consequences if artificial intelligence overcomes our planet. That is why Facebook’s move to gather a team of researchers to develop artificial intelligence for the social networking giant should cause a lot of concern.
The team is composed of AI experts based in France who will work on the project in California and New York with the Facebook AI Research teams, the resident group that has been poring over the idea for a long while now.
Most leading intellectuals did not lack for caution against the downside of AI. Not so long ago, Tesla’s Elon Musk warned against what he described as the evil that could result from Google’s AI pursuit. Google CEO Larry Page wants to build advanced robotic systems that are capable of various physical movements.
But unlike the objectives set for Google’s AI endeavor, Facebook wants to develop something different from that. The Menlo Park giant does not intend to build robots. What it plans to develop is a collection of tools that can recognize images and speech, understand and process natural language, translate words in real time, learn machines, and other tasks that fall in the AI category.
The image recognition system will help Facebook to determine photos with clarity such as humans, animals or objects. Using image recognition, Facebook can learn how their users behave in order to target ads to a specific audience.
The real-time translation could also provide comfort to, say, two Facebook friends coming from the different parts of the world with language barriers. Once they start chatting in the Facebook Messenger, Facebook would translate their messages into the language understandable to the other. This way, Facebook will make the world even smaller. That is so because it can then remove the great wall that separates people with different languages.
With Facebook Video in the offing, the speech recognition tool would help the social networking site to collect data about its users by analyzing the voices in video conversations it intends to host sooner.
But take note that Facebook will use these pieces of information to build up an advertising profile of you. So despite all these innovative ideas, this should raise the alarm for users who are wary of privacy intrusion by Internet firms, not the least Facebook.
In other words, Facebook can then monetize everything that it learns from you, dear users.