Facebook utilizes Instagram photos and hashtags to create a smarter A.I.

Image-recognition programs are trained using databases of millions of photographs manually tagged in order to teach the computer to spot different objects. But Facebook has an interesting database of images already at its fingertips: Instagram. During the F8 conference, the social media giant shared how the company trained an artificial intelligence image recognition system by using a combination of public Instagram photos and hashtags.

Labeling an image manually to build a database of millions of photos is a time-consuming process, particularly when getting down to the specific details like a species of a bird rather than just labeling “bird.” Facebook researchers instead decided to see if they could make an existing, already labeled set of images work by using publicly shared Instagram images and their accompanying hashtags.

The problem, of course, is that hashtags don’t always detail what is in the photo. While some users may hashtag the breed of dog in the photograph, any A.I. system would also have to sift through hashtags like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) or hashtags with multiple meanings. Facebook calls these irrelevant or non-specific hashtags “incoherent label noise.”

To break through the noise, Facebook designed an A.I. to supervise the hashtags — essentially, designing an A.I. to then use that to create another A.I. The research group built a hashtag prediction model and then limited the training program to a specific list of hashtags.

The most accurate image recognition system to come from the experiment used a list of 1,500 hashtags and trained on a billion Instagram photos, ending up with an 85.4 percent accuracy rate — a rating that Facebook says is two percent higher than earlier advanced models. That system was more accurate than the model trained with 17,000 hashtags, which led the team to conclude that narrowing the focus of the training data leads to a more accurate image recognition system.

Facebook plans to continue using a similar idea to create more specific computer vision that is able to recognize types of trees, flowers, and birds. A more accurate image recognition system could be used to boost Facebook’s existing program that reads the content of images to the visually impaired, for example. 

Facebook plans to release the training model embeddings as open source for further expansion.

While the access to Instagram’s large datasets could help create more accurate image recognition in less time, others are raising privacy questions. Facebook said only public Instagram images were used in the research.

Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Computing

Nvidia’s smart paintbrush tool turns simple doodles into works of art

Nvidia has announced a new deep-learning-enhanced drawing app that can turn your doodles and sketches into highly realistic images. With Nvidia's GauGAN, simple sketches can be automatically embellished with more vivid details.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.