Facebook Artificial Intelligence On The Upswing with $12 Million New Paris Investment

Technology
Facebook Artificial Intelligence On The Upswing with $12 Million New Paris Investment PHOTOGRAPH: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook |

Facebook announced plans to invest $12 million in its artificial intelligence center in Paris. The company will also hire more PhD fellows in the Facebook AI Research Paris Facility, it said in its announcement.

From the current 10 PhD personnel in Paris, Facebook said it is looking forward to hire 40 more, as well as 30 to 60 more engineers. The social media giant also stated that it will give more grants and scholarships to students and will work with French public institutions to reach more deserving recipients.

The initiative is part of Facebook’s project called “Community Boost EU.” Under the initiative, Facebook said it will also open three new community skills hubs in Spain, Poland, and Italy and will train 1 million people and business owners across the EU by 2020. As initial step, Facebook explained it will have the first 300,000 people trained within the first two years of which 75,000 will be trained in person while the rest will be online.

Facebook also announced its plan to provide digital skills training to more than 15,000 women in France as part of its SheMeansBusiness program. The same scheme had been active implemented in the UK and Italy and will be rolled out in Ireland, Spain, and Sweden.

These developments appeared to be in tune with what Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer stated back in March 2015 during a keynote presentation at his F8 conference. The Facebook official identified artificial intelligence as one of the company’s priorities in the coming years. By June in the same year, Facebook opened its artificial intelligence facility in Paris.

Last December 2017, Facebook artificial intelligence researchers created avatars which can play musical instruments. A team of Facebook AI specialists trained the avatars using YouTube videos of Piano and violin recitals.

Facebook’s pursuit of AI, however, was not without controversies. In August 2017, an academic paper that Facebook published in June the same year became a subject of numerous clickbait articles and fake news. Various media reported at the time that Facebook needed to shut down its chatbots because they learned to speak their own language. Dhruv Batra of Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research explained they have only changed the parameters of said experiment.

In July 2017, the world watched as Mark Zuckerberg and SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk debated on the possible effect of artificial intelligence. Zuckerberg was positive while Musk was anxious.

The debate on social media begun after Musk’s speech at the National Governors Association, saying: “I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

Zuckerberg did not directly address this but days after Musk’s speech, he posted on Facebook.

“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

Musk subsequently tweeted: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”