How Facebook Will Know More About Your Personal Life Than You Do


artificial intelligence

Facebook is about to find out everything there is to know about you (including a few things you might not know about yourself). It doesn’t involve the NSA, or really anything dishonest or shady. You ready?

It’s going to use AI to analyze your pictures.

Popular Science reports that Facebook just hired New York University machine learning expert Yann LeCun, an AI expert who will use a technique called “deep learning” to sort through the 350 million photos uploaded by users of the social network every single day.

Per Andrew Ng, who led a deep learning project to analyze YouTube for Google:

“Yann LeCun’s move will be an exciting step both for machine learning and for Facebook, which has a lot of unique social data. Machine learning is already used in hundreds of places throughout Facebook, ranging from photo tagging to ranking articles to your newsfeed. Better machine learning will be able to help improve all of these features, as well as help Facebook create new applications that none of us have dreamed of yet.”

Of course, Facebook being the tall, dark mystery man of social media that it is, did not divulge what they actually have in mind regarding these “futuristic advances.”

LeCun will be the director of Facebook’s new AI laboratory, and (tl;dr) will use “deep learning” which simulates the step-by-step hierarchical learning process of the brain.

Per Popular Science’s Andrew Rosenblum, “Applied to the problem of identifying objects in a photo, LeCun’s deep learning approach emulates the visual cortex, the part of the brain to which our retina sends visual data for analysis.”

Or, in more practical language …

“Instead of targeting ads to users based on keywords written in Facebook posts, the algorithms would analyze a video of say, you at the beach with some friends. The algorithm might then learn what beer you’re drinking lately, what brand of sunscreen you use, who you’re hanging out with, and guess whether you might be on vacation.”

It’s weird how things can be both cool and creepy at the same time.

[Image: Saad Faruque]


Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.

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