Facebook is apparently planning to build a new neural sensor that can read people’s minds and convert these thoughts into actions. This new project will push the social media giant further into the artificial intelligence domain, some instances of which did not go well with Facebook. Facebook has also announced a new tool that summarises news articles into bullets so that readers do not have to spend much time on them, a move that can potentially impact publishers on the social media platform.
The announcements were made at Facebook’s yearly meeting that involved everyone working at the company. The details of the meetings are not available publicly but BuzzFeed News managed to obtain an audio recording that was broadcast to all employees. Facebook has revealed some serious plans that are associated with upgrades in the AI category, as the company ends a predictably difficult year with even tougher events that posed a challenge.
The neural sensor that the company is said to be developing uses the resources of CTRL Labs, a company that Facebook acquired in 2019. According to the report, the sensor will take the neural signals from the brain through the spinal cord and arms, and right to the wrist. This will allow users to make physical actions based on their thoughts. According to Facebook, this will help users holding a virtual object, typing, and controlling a character in a video game. This is uncannily similar to the nascent brain-reading technology that Elon Musk’s Neuralink company is working on. It will be interesting to see what spin Facebook gives to this tech.
Facebook has seen itself caught in several controversies, including political inclination in India, discontent among employees, and most importantly, the antitrust cases over dominance in the US and elsewhere. One of the controversies was the removal of hate speech, which uses AI-powered tools significantly. Facebook is now expanding its range to cover even more AI-enabled products, including the new summarising app for news articles. It said some 20,000 employees have joined Facebook this year and that people were using Facebook and its services more than ever, thanks to the pandemic.
But for Facebook, artificial intelligence is not a small accessory that its services can take advantage of. The social media giant is pegging AI as the panacea for all the problems that it has faced and will likely deal with in the future. “We are paving the way for breakthrough new experiences that, without hyperbole, will improve the lives of billions,” said Mike Schroepfer, chief technology officer at Facebook in the briefing, as per BuzzFeed News.
Facebook is using AI for pretty much everything, from curbing the spread of misinformation on its social media platforms to removing hate speech, along with scanning political content. Schroepfer even said that AI is helping Facebook detect 95 per cent of hate speech rampant on the platform. However, this is entirely opposite to what some ex-employees who have worked closely with the company’s AI products, have said that AI has helped to remove hate speech content less than 5 per cent. Facebook did not come clean about this claim, however.
Going forward, Facebook is introducing the “TLDR” (short for too long, didn’t read) tool, which is essentially a tool that will create a synopsis of news articles, saving readers a good deal of time. This sounds unfavourable for publishers who have deep connections with Facebook for news content, along with special projects that are associated with fighting misinformation on the platform. It is not immediately clear how this feature will impact the ties the company has with publishers. A Facebook spokesperson did not comment on this development.