DeepText, Facebook’s AI project, is getting smarter and smarter as time goes by. In fact, the social network said it got so good at understanding text that it can interpret “several thousand posts a second” with “near-human accuracy.”
Launched on Wednesday, DeepText offers an intriguing insight into how Facebook makes use of artificial intelligence to improve its platform in terms of processing the billions of lines of text that are created each day.
DeepText’s ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of the content and context of text on Facebook, so the overall user experience can be improved. And if this sounds like something Facebook is planning on doing sometime in the far future, be sure that some experiments are already underway.
On Messenger, for instance, the technology is being used for something that Facebook calls “intent extraction” — figuring out how context influences messages that sound similar but have very different meanings.
For example, writing “I need a ride” could trigger a prompt asking you if you want to request an Uber, but writing “I found a ride,” shouldn’t. But DeepText also has many uses in proactively guiding users toward various Facebook tools based on what they’re updating on the site.
If a user writes a post that says, “I would like to sell my old stationary bike for $300, anyone interested?” DeepText should be able to detect that the post mentions a transaction of sorts.
More than that, the AI would also extract the important information – such as the object of the sale and its price – and steer the seller towards existing Facebook tools that make these transactions easier.
Facebook also hopes to teach it to help users with the seemingly simple task of filtering comments; at the moment, you’re likely to see a lot of spam on crowded public posts.
While some of these improvements don’t sound like much, projects like DeepText will become more important as the company pushes further into AI.
Why? Because the better Facebook gets at understanding what you’re talking about, the better it will be at making sure your News Feed is curated after your interests. In addition, hiding spam will help keep more people on Facebook.
DeepText is still in relatively early stages, but we’re waiting to hear great things about the project.
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