Facebook unveils its new AI engine 'Deep Text'

This week, Facebook unveiled its new artificial intelligence engine, 'Deep Text' in an effort to better understand the meaning and sentiment of posts on its site as well as the messages sent via its Messenger app.

According to the company, its new in-house AI engine is able to understand the text of thousands of posts per second in over 20 languages. Deep Text is also able to do so with “near-human accuracy” which is very impressive for a project that began less than a year ago.

Facebook has already utilised the new technology to improve the ability of chat bots operating within Messenger to help users hail cabs. Deep Text is able to understand the difference between someone referring to a previous cab ride and someone actively looking for a ride. It has also been applied to posts on the social networking site regarding sales. Deep Text is able to extract information about the item being sold and make it available to the user as well as give them feedback as to how they could make their sales post more enticing for potential customers.

As to the importance of understanding the various forms of text posted on the site, Facebook's core director of machine learning, Hussein Mehanna said: “If you want to have bots that communicate in a natural and intelligent way, text understanding is a critical piece of technology. People use text as a major form of communication on Facebook. There are thousands of posts per second, tens of millions of comments every day. With text understanding we can get closer and closer to human accuracy or near-human understanding.”

Deep Text will help Facebook improve its site for its users but it will also allow the company to better compete against Google as a search platform. The technology it uses will allow content to be curated in a way that was previously impossible. For instance comments on posts could easily be sorted into categories based on how relevant or helpful they are, allowing users to disregard unrelated or inappropriate comments altogether.

So far, Deep Text is 20 per cent more accurate than the previous technologies Facebook used to make sense of the endless streams of text uploaded to the social network daily. The AI engine's ability to understand and interpret text will also improve in accuracy thanks to its deep learning capabilities.

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