Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Facebook and A.I. = Brave New World

So what does the Face of the future look like?
[...] But the trend Facebook is looking to capitalise on is the gradual move away from computers to mobile devices and the development of Artificial Intelligence.

"Mobile-driven applications will be the way people will interact," says Billy Mahon, CEO of Superior Internet Marketing.

"So in the future it won't be about PCs or laptops. More people have smart phones even now than laptops, so it seems obvious that this will be the future of social media."

While new media guru Dr Mohanbir Sawhney says he can't even begin to visualise what a mobile device will look like in 2015, he is sure of one thing: "You will have your lifestyle at your fingertips."

This will help customise the information you receive, inform the decisions you make and even influence the products you buy.

"For instance, I will be able to download all of my preferences, my personality and details of my likes and dislikes," says Sawhney.

"Then I may provide this information to a 'shopping bot' (robot or automated application) that I will then delegate the task of negotiating and transacting on my behalf. You will see the evolution of "D2D" commerce (Device-to-Device) without human intervention."

Other heavyweights agree that this type of Artificial Intelligence could be the future of social networking and help transform the likes of Facebook over the next decade or so.

"I think that in 10 years, if you ask a question on a social network and you get an answer, you will not know if a computer or a person has answered you," says Yury Milner, chief executive of DST Global, the Russian firm that invested $50 million in Facebook alongside Goldman Sachs.

"On the other hand, when you receive a question, you will not know if it has been asked by a person or an artificial intelligence."

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are being used as a platform on which to test AI due to their vast wealth of conversational data. The volume of information generated by Facebook alone is daunting with 10.2 million comments and 2.7m photos uploaded every 20 minutes.

"There was as much information generated in the last two days as there was in the history of civilisation up to 2003," noted Milner earlier this week. So AI applications and devices could become key as the stream of information we encounter on a daily basis continues to expand.

There is already an application available on Facebook called Ultra Hal (inspired by the computer in 2001) that is an artificially intelligent chat interface. It allows Facebook users chat to it and it actively learns to improve its intelligence during the discussions.

The firm behind the Ultra Hal software Zabaware sells a commercial version that is clever enough to be "used as a companion or entertainment product" and "can discuss any topic" or "be used as a personal assistant."

In November Spanish Scientists helped AI take another leap forward by creating a computer programme that can recognise emotions in a human voice. [...]

The excerpt is from the 2nd half of the article. The first half is about the growth and power of Facebook, and all the things it's expanding into. Brave New World, here we come...

Also See:

Artificial Intelligence Interacts with and Learns from People on Social Networks

Ultra Hal: His "Second Life" is really his first one

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