Facebook is growing its new artificial intelligence research lab, and an important new hire underscores that the social network means business when it comes to cultivating a top-flight team.
New York University professor Yann LeCun will work as the project director. LeCun took to Facebook to expand on his new role, as one does when they get a job for a company focused on for sharing news about yourself:
AllThingsD pointed out that this move will put Facebook in competition with Google, since the search giant/Internet juggernaut is also aggressively establishing an AI research presence. Google hired futurist Ray Kurzweil to helm its team, as well as one of LeCun’s former bosses, Geoffrey Hinton. Hinton and LeCun are both integral players in the “deep learning” movement, which aspires to develop machines that function like the human brain. And although Google and Facebook snagged “deep learning” luminaries for their project, this isn’t a two-rocket space race; Microsoft and Baidu are also investing in deep learning research.
Facebook and Google will likely use some of the information culled from their AI research to devise better ways for machines to figure out which ads we’re mostly likely to click on. But hopefully these research teams will be allowed to cultivate wider ambitions. Facebook has already revealed its desire to dominate search by developing a more intuitive, knowledge-based map, and improved artificial intelligence would be vital to making Graph Search into what they want it to be – so this new lab could end up changing the way we discover information.