Twitter strengthens AI offering with $150m Magic Pony Technology acquisition

Twitter has demonstrated its commitment to artificial intelligence and machine learning by splashing a reported $150m on London-based Magic Pony Technology. The aim is to use the company's advanced technology to improve Twitter's live and video experiences.

Jack Dorsey describes Magic Pony Technology as a 'company that has developed novel machine learning techniques for visual processing'. Thus far this has been used to sharpen blurry images, create computer-generated images from scratch, and to learn to recognise objects.

While Magic Pony Technology's AI is not exactly unique, where it stands apart from the competition is in terms of raw speed. With Twitter eager to focus on live video moving forward, it makes sense to be investing in technology that can handle video and image processing as quickly as possible.

In a post on the Magic Pony Technology website, the company says: "We're excited to announce that we're joining forces with Twitter to use our technology to improve the visual experiences that are delivered across their apps.

"Together with Twitter, we're looking forward to vastly accelerating our rate of research; growing our team, which will serve as the European homebase for Twitter's machine learning efforts; and continuing to publish. We've barely scratched the surface of what we think is possible in this area and are excited to see what the future holds."

Twitter has not said exactly what it intends to do with the technology, but it could be used to improve the appearance of live video streams over slow connections, or to help users find related content based on images. Dorsey says: "Magic Pony’s technology - based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery - will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter.

"The team includes 11 PhDs with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing, and computational neuroscience, who are alumni of some of the top labs in the world.

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