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Facebook’s AI Research Division has developed an incredibly powerful new tool that will enhance users’ photo searching capabilities, help the visually impaired, and protect against objectionable material and spam appearing on the site.

“Until recently, online search has always been a text-driven technology, even when searching through images,” said Director of Applied Machine Learning Joaquin Candela in a blog post announcing the latest photo search upgrade.

The so-called ‘backbone’ of Facebook’s AI, the FBLearner Flow, runs 1.2 million AI experiments a month, a sixfold increase from 12 months ago, thanks to a huge improvement in automated machine learning.

Lumos is the machine learning platform that Facebook has deployed to catalogue both images and videos hosted on the website.

“More than 200 visual models have been trained and deployed on Lumos by dozens of teams, for purposes such as objectionable-content detection, spam fighting, and automatic image captioning,” the social media superpower said.

By pooling the resources of various departments within the machine learning and AI research subdivisions, Facebook claims users can now search through their photos without the need for proper tagging or a detailed caption.

What that means is that users can now search for old holiday snaps based on what you were wearing at the time, even if you can’t recall exactly what year the holiday took place.

A deep neural network with millions of parameters powers the object recognition aspect of the platform, meaning not only specific objects, but also the context around them, can be identified.

In addition, the search queries and their respective results are gathered on a continuing basis, so there is ever-improving precision in future search results.

Candela also stated that the company’s overall goal is to “weave AI into the Facebook engineering fabric.”

What this entails for the future of not only the platform itself but social media as a concept remains up for debate, especially given ever-increasing cyber-security concerns.

Privacy has become an increasing social media gremlin, and these latest features do raise certain questions about the right to privacy in the future.

It remains unclear whether there is an opt-out for the new feature or whether current security protocols could be incorporated without issue.

This would afford hackers and users with malicious intent a wealth of knowledge previously unheard of, such as a person’s travel patterns or even their daily routine (depending on the frequency of posts).

Recent updates to the site, such as the “stalker-ish” feature ‘Discover people,’ have raised concerns about where the social media platform is headed and to what extent users can control such new features.

Given that Facebook is fast approaching two billion users, such a vast amount of image and video data available from around the world could provide the company with a truly mind-blowing amount of information never before seen in history.

Source : https://www.rt.com/viral/376324-facebook-ai-powered-photo-search/

Categorized in Online Research

Facebook on Thursday announced ‘Messenger Day’ feature which provides a new way to see and share photos and videos on Facebook Messenger.

A few months ago, Facebook launched the Messenger Camera, allowing users to make their conversation better than ever.

“Billions of photos and videos have been sent capturing all those heartfelt, funny and serious messages that make the Messenger community so powerful,” said Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Product for Messenger.

“We love seeing how much fun people are having with Messenger’s new visual tools, especially our most popular art and effects like floating hearts and recently, Mardi Gras frames.”

facebook_day1

Facebook now allows users to share these photos and videos with many friends at once by adding it to their Day where many of their friends can view and reply to them.

These photos and videos will be at the top of the home screen, making it easy for friends and family to  see and message directly about what they have shared.

To start sharing their Day, users just have take a photo or video by tapping the camera, customise it with art and effects by tapping the smiley face icon in the top right corner and share it.

facebook_day2

Facebook allows users to be in control as they can add to their Day, save to your phone’s camera roll, or send to a specific person or group.

They can add to their Day as often as they like and show what they’re doing, share their feelings, and what they’re up to in a given moment.

The photos and videos users add to their Day will expire in 24 hours.

Users can also add to their Day from a group or one-on-one conversation.

facebook_day3

After sending a photo or video in a Messenger conversation, tap the “Add to your day” text, and they will be asked to confirm if they would like to add it to their Day.

Facebook also leaves it up to users who can see their Day. Users can customize who can see the content by tapping the ‘More’ icon and choosing “Everyone except…” or “Custom.”

Messenger Day is rolling out globally on Android and iOS devices.

Author : Web Desk

Source : https://arynews.tv/en/facebook-launches-messenger-day-feature-with-vanishing-videos-and-pictures/

Categorized in Social

users spend over million hours a day gobbling up video on the social network. But despite all that content flowing through — and the technology and ingenuity powering it – Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to wrap its algorithmic prowess around video the way it already does with photos, using facial recognition, for instance, to identify you and your friends. Facebook (FB) users spend over 100 million hours a day gobbling up video on the social network. But despite all that content flowing through — and the technology and ingenuity powering it – Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to wrap its algorithmic prowess around video the way it already does with photos, using facial recognition, for instance, to identify you and your friends.

purring or a professor in the middle of a BBC interview interrupted by his two young kids. The reason: sheer complexity. A photo is one static image, but a video is essentially copious images sequenced in a particular order to show a narrative in motion: a Siamese kitten purring or a professor in the middle of a BBC interview interrupted by his two young kids.

Using artificial intelligence to scan and analyze a video on the fly — “video understanding,” as it’s called — is a multi-year challenge Facebook argues could transform the social network experience for the better.

“We think video understanding is going to be ridiculously impactful, because if you go back in time and you think about the News Feed — even before photos were that prevalent — it was mostly text, and so that was the content you needed to understand in order to rank [people’s feeds],” Joaquin Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning, told Yahoo Finance.  

Joaquin Candela
“We think video understanding is going to be ridiculously impactful, ” Joaquin Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning, told Yahoo Finance. Source: Facebook

“We’re at a point now where we’re pretty good at understanding photos, but now there’s video,” Candela added. “You even have live video, and the question becomes, well, how fast can you figure out what’s going on in this video?”

If anyone at the social network can tackle that challenge, it’s Candela, who leads Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning group (AML). The group’s mission? Take the heady ideas and theories generated by the neighboring Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research group (FAIR) and turn those ideas into reality.

Already, the FAIR and AML groups algorithms are capable of identifying certain elements in a video — objects like a house, a pizza box or pet — but they remain light years away from fully deciphering and tracking the most important aspect: people’s behavior. 

“The majority of the videos that come to Facebook are people-centric,” explained Manohar Paluri, computer vision lead at the AML group. “And if we don’t understand what people are doing, we will never understand what the video is about.”

Manohar Paluri
“If we don’t understand what people are doing, we will never understand what the video is about,” explained Manohar Paluri, research lead of computer vision at the AML group. Source: Facebook

Indeed, the context of a video is every bit as important as quickly figuring out who is in the video. Is this Facebook user attending a rally? Giving a speech? Playing squash?

Once they do that, Facebook contends there are numerous practical applications for Facebook users. Although Facebook does not disclose how much Live video users shoot on any given day, the social network says people are 10 times more likely to comment on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

But how much more likely are you to check out that video if you received a notification because a friend of yours is being filmed? Not only that, but what if the notification told you exactly what your friend was doing in that moment, like say, running on Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif., or chowing down on sashimi at Nobu in New York City?

identify people in photos. Now, many people take facial recognition within Facebook for granted.That kind of hypothetical is what Facebook hopes to offer its users in the next three to five years. And while the level of granularity may sound disconcerting to some — an algorithm smart enough to understand exactly what you’re doing — remember that just five years ago, people were up in arms over Facebook using facial recognition to identify people in photos. Now, many people take facial recognition within Facebook for granted.

most-trafficked website in the world, it is always developing new ways to keep users inside Facebook or its stable of products and services, whether they be subtle speed improvements or rolling out the Snapchat Stories-like feature Facebook Messenger Day.For Facebook, the payoff for nailing and rolling out a feature like video understanding is increased user engagement. Although the social network has evolved into the third most-trafficked website in the world, it is always developing new ways to keep users inside Facebook or its stable of products and services, whether they be subtle speed improvements or rolling out the Snapchat Stories-like feature Facebook Messenger Day.As time marches on, people become accustomed to, even dependent upon, many of those technological improvements. Facebook is hoping the same for video understanding, too.
Categorized in Social

The internet doesn't have an off switch. While it's interesting to imagine pressing a big red button and -- poof! -- the internet goes out around the world, it's actually much more complicated than that.

It is possible, however, for people, companies and governments to turn off certain parts of the internet. There are countrywide blocks in places like Egypt and Gabon during political unrest, and temporary outages in India when the government turns off the internet while students take exams.

Facebook (FBTech30) tracks these kinds of outages. Both internal monitoring and people on the ground contribute to this effort.

Matt Perault, global head of policy development at Facebook, started there in January 2011 -- around the time Egypt conducted widespread internet outages to quell protests. Over the next few years, he noticed that internet blocks were still happening with some frequency, just on a smaller scale.

"We felt they weren't getting the attention they deserved," Perault said during a panel at the SXSW Interactive festival on Friday. "So we work with a bunch of organizations to try and bring attention to this issue."

It's not just about losing access to Facebook. For instance, he referenced a recent Brookings report that found that temporary internet shutdowns cost $2.4 billion in 2015.

You can think about the internet in three different layers: There's the actual infrastructure that powers the internet -- think cables and satellites. There's the protocol, which includes things like web hosts and providers, and then there are applications, like Facebook.

Each of these layers have different responsibilities, as Perault and his fellow panelists explained, and countries or governments can target them differently. An internet service provider could stop serving a country, or a government could block specific services like Facebook or WhatsApp.

In China, the "great firewall" blocks all kinds of content, including Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times. In Gabon last year, nightly outages prevented people from connecting to any website.

"The problem is not the technology from a 'turn off the entire internet perspective,'" Perault said. "But the technology has gotten more advanced in creating methods to impose a less costly block."

Facebook's internal group works with organizations like the Global Network Initiative to track these outages, and communicate them to a wider audience. Four out of five Facebook users are outside of the U.S., so many of them could be impacted by these blocks. For Facebook, figuring out where blocks happen is just good for business.

Facebook said it is "aware of at least 48 times in 2016 when access to Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram was disrupted. This includes both targeted disruptions, as well those impacting the entire Internet."

The company said one of the most significant outages that it's tracking right now is in certain regions of Cameroon, where it said internet connectivity has been down for 50 days.

"My main concern right now is moving to a world where there's increasingly sophisticated small-scale blocks," Perault said.

Author : Selena Larson

Source : http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/12/technology/facebook-internet-blocks-kill-switch/

Categorized in Social

Think you're a Facebook pro? Think again. Sure, Facey-B might have dominated the past decade of your online activity, but there's a good chance you're still not getting the most out the world's biggest social network. So set your ego aside and listen up, it's lesson time.

Believe it or not, Facebook's no longer just that friendly little blue website you post drunken photos to. Squillions of development hours have been put into this thing, filling it with all manner of features you might not be aware of, including this lot.

1. STOP THE ENDLESS SEARCH FOR EMOJI WITH TEXT SHORTCUTS

Where would we be without our trusted friends, the "sexy aubergine" or "jolly poop"? Sometimes words just won't cut it, but searching for the exact emoji you want can be a pain. The category menus for emoji are far from intuitive, each contains such a mass of symbols that confusion often ensues.

Forget scanning fruitlessly; entering text shortcuts will insert the relevant emoji into your message when it's sent. For instance, typing :poop: will add the poop emoji. Unfortunately not all emoji get shortcuts, but the most popular ones are included.

Shark (^^^)

Middle Finger [[midfing]]

Not Bad [[notbaad]]

Horny 3:)

2. YOU CAN UNFRIEND SOMEONE WITHOUT LOSING ACCESS TO THEIR ACCOUNT

Facebook unfollow
  

When unfriending someone on Facebook classes as workplace bullying, we're all in trouble. You can cut people out without all the drama though. Simply unfollow them instead of unfriending them. This completely stops all of their nonsense from appearing on your wall, while still offering you full Facebook stalking rights to their accounts when the mood takes.

To do this, hit the 'Following' button on the pages of your Facebook foes. You'll see options to unfollow them as well as 'See First'. But that's for people who you want right at the top of your newsfeed, not those who make you want to put all your Facebook-connected devices in a tub of acid. Tap the unfollow option, stat.

3. THERE'S A HIDDEN BASKETBALL GAME IN MESSENGER

If you haven't heard about this already, what rock have you been living under? Seriously, it's Facebook's worst kept secret and it's an addictive time-sap of a game. Scurried away within Facebook Messenger, the basketball-based plaything lets you challenge your chums to shoot some hoops directly within the chat window.

It's not something you're likely to stumble across either. To play, you need to send your friend a basketball emoji then click on the sports-themed pictogram. This will launch the game over your chat, with both players' high scores being logged in the feed.

4. HOW TO FIND FACEBOOK'S SECRET MESSAGE INBOX

Facebook Messenger hidden inbox

We all know how to find Facebook's message inbox - heck, they put little red numbers over it every time you get a message - but did you know there's a second, secret message inbox? No? Didn't think so. This is the stomping ground of all the messages you're sent from people not inside your Facebook friends group.

There are probably far more messages than you're expecting, you just need to know where to look for it - it's secret, not signposted after all. To get there, open the Facebook Messenger app and click Settings >> People >> Message Requests >> See Filtered Requests and enjoy a list of four -year-old messages you lucky thing.

5. YOU CAN STILL POKE PEOPLE

Facebook generic
 

Facebook's original favourite feature - poking - still lives, really. Who knew, right? The social media equivalent of an office sexual harassment nightmare might not be the front-and-centre feature it once was, but it's still there if you know where to look.

That place isn't something you're likely to stumble across though. On a friend's profile page, click the "…" next to the 'Message' tab that sits over their cover photo. This will launch a drop-down menu that includes, amongst other things, the ability to have a good ol' poke. It's Facebook circa 2007 and we love it.

6. SEE MORE STUFF FROM YOUR FAVOURITE PEOPLE

Facebook tips and tricks

There's a point that comes in all of our lives: the day you realise your Facebook feed is full of inspirational quotes posted by people you wouldn't trust for directions to the nearest newsagent's. That and sponsored links. When that day arrives, it's time for a refresh.

One way to give Facebook's feed algorithms a kick up the arse is to start labelling your Facebook contacts as 'close friends' and 'acquaintances'. All the updates from your close friends will appear on your news feed, diluting the drivel your 'acquaintances' post. How? Well, in the 'Friends' tab you'll see a drop-down box next to each of your mates' entries. In this you can label them with these two all-important tags. Doing so will up the quality of your news feed dramatically.

7. GET FACEBOOK TO STOP SENDING YOU BIRTHDAY NOTIFICATIONS

Facebook Notifications

Facebook has become the best way to keep track of people's birthdays. However, it can get a bit much. When 90% of your smartphone alerts are Facebook's birthday reminders, or Domino's telling you they've a new offer, things need to change. It's no way to live.

You can switch off birthday notifications to your phone altogether though. If you go Settings >> Notifications >> Mobile, you can easily ditch the celebratory reminders. Huzzah, now we can go back to forgetting our best friend's special day, just as nature intended.

8. SEND A FACEBOOK UPDATE OVER SMS

Facebook tips and tricks

"PLEASE HELP, I'M STUCK IN A RAVINE, NEED ASSISTANCE #FML." A Facebook update like this could save your life. Maybe. And you could make it using the text function on your phone. That's right, you can text Facebook like it's 999.

There's a dedicated feature for this called Facebook Texts. All you need to do is link a phone to your account, which we imagine most of you have done by now, then send a message reading "F" to 32665. This will set you up, then you just text that number again with your status update. There's actually a whole bunch of other things you can do from your mobile too, like get texts every time a certain friend posts something - creepy.

9. HOW TO DOWNLOAD YOUR ENTIRE FACEBOOK HISTORY

Facebook app 3D Touch update

Find yourself living in constant fear of hackers stealing arty photos of your dinner? You can actually download your entire Facebook history, to savour every last drunken photo, over-sharing post and your 4,387 selfies for all eternity.

Why? Why not? We warn you, though, this could end up being a pretty big download if you're a real Facebook victim. It includes pictures and other media as well as text-based posts. To back it all up, go to Settings and click to "download a copy of your Facebook data" at the bottom of the page.

10. YOU CAN LOG OUT REMOTELY TO AVOID LIFE MELTDOWN

Facebook
 

Horror films have nothing on the fear of flogging your old phone on eBay, then sending it off still hooked up to your email and Facebook - arrrgh. You don't necessarily have to start changing your passwords right away though. Facebook lets you see every phone and browser that has been, or that is, accessing your Facebook account, and then put a stop to them with a click.

To get to this screen, use the web interface and tap the drop-down menu at the top-right of the display. Select Settings >> Security >> Where You're Logged In. Here you'll be able to see all your log-ins over the last few months. Safe again, phew.

11. HOW TO TURN OFF AUTO-PLAY VIDEOS ON FACEBOOK

Facebook tips and tricks

Whether you see auto-play videos as the scourge of the internet or just a quicker way to mainline funny cat clips says a lot about the kind of digital beast you are. To hate them is the classic old-school approach. And while Facebook embraces them as standard these days, you can turn them off.

On your browser you'll find it right down at the bottom of the Settings menu. Click the Videos tab, which is home to the Auto-play switcher. Job done, you've just saved your data plan a serious kicking.

12. PIRATE LINGO YOUR ACCOUNT

Facebook Pirate
 

Avast me 'arties, Facebook may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but it still knows how to have fun, honest. An example of classic Facey-B japes is the ability to change your language to 'pirate', turning the social network into 'Ye Olde Facebook' and 'posts' to 'anchors'.

Fancy trying it out? Go Settings >> Language and switch out English for the mother tongue of the high seas. Don't feel particularly piratey? There are dozens of languages to choose from including the Star Wars-sounding but utterly real Basa Jawa (the language of Java, if you're wondering) or Upside Down English.

13. GET LOGIN ALERTS IF YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT HACKERS

Internet thief
 

Facebook account hacking is pretty common: you've probably seen someone appear to go a bit loopy in your Facebook tenure, only to find out their account was hacked - it wasn't them 'Liking' links to smutty websites, honest. Sure, there's no way to make you completely immune to hacking short of nuking your Facebook account, but you can nip it in the bud pretty quickly.

Login Alerts will drop you a notification whenever your Facebook account is accessed from a new device or browser. By going Settings >> Security, you can choose to receive an email, notification or both upon one of these new login attempts. Neat.

14. LINK FACEBOOK TO YOUR TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

Instagram generic
 

Every social media pro seems to live on about a half-dozen social networks at once, hoovering up followers and friends like Morgan Freeman sauntering down a high street, flinging fivers with every step. You don't need to spend all day hooked to your computer to get this effect, though.

The trick is to link your other social networks to Facebook so that they automatically post to it, saving you the effort. This doesn't happen over at Facebook itself, but directly at places like Twitter and Instagram, the two most likely candidates for a Facebook hook-up.

15. CHOOSE WHO GETS THE FACEBOOK REINS AFTER YOU'RE GONE

Facebook Privacy
 

You're going to die. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but it's true. We're so certain, we'd bet on it. But, hey, we all are. Facebook might not, though, so if you want to make sure your account isn't going to fall into the wrong hands when the inevitable comes along, you can bequeath your account to someone trustworthy. Not that git who switched your language to Pirate.

How? Well, what you need to do is nominate a 'Legacy Contact', someone who gets control over your account when Facebook is advised of your passing. You'll find this in the 'Security' part of both the Facebook web interface and mobile app.

Author : LUKE JOHNSON AND JUSTIN MAHBOUBIAN-JONES

Source : http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/internet/feature/a822986/secret-facebook-features-tips-tricks/

Categorized in Social

The penetration of mobile phones wasn’t fast enough in rural India during the early mobile days over a decade ago. However, the limited users of the handhelds were prompt enough to get carried away with the allurement of the web of free information. For them –long before they could figure out the technicalities of browsers –the gateway to connect with the universe was largely search engines especially Google. The iconic Google search --one of the classic examples of ‘humanisation of tech’, never ceased to entice its users all along. 



The scenario, however, has changed today. From an obtrusive shift in googling habit to domain-based search to an app culture, much has changed since then. People are more onto their apps than on web or online search. And the clear victim is Google. The universe of web –that people used to access primarily through Google Search, is gradually getting scrappy. The dark matter, which Google can’t crawl, index and present on search queries that users conduct, on the other side is gradually swelling at an astonishing pace. 

With 80% of the world information generated over the last two years alone, the web of crawlable information should have more diverse and democratic. However, the information entombed under social networks, single page architectures and most importantly the ever-growing apps is not only growing but also ushering in a new era where much of the information is getting locked for public access. 

With over four petabytes of data being generated by Facebook alone and over five lacs of new users joining the platform every day, the information appearing in search engine result pages (SERPs) isn’t in commensurate with the volume and variety of data being generated today. What happens when platforms such as Facebook and Twitter decide to be inaccessible to Search? After all, why would a reader conduct a web search when there is an app to do just that?

The threats to iconic Google Search

Dark Matter defeats the whole mission of Google which aims to put straight the world’s information and make it handy for everyone. On the flip side is the rise of domain-based search. 

The artificial intelligence team of Facebook has been working hard to ferret out the best search tactics for their platform. Lumos visual search system, developed by Facebook recently, can detect objects, scenes, animals, places, and clothes that appear in images or videos – and return relevant search results for users. 



With over 500 million tweets and 6,000 tweets every single second that are sent every single day, Twitter too has come up with several measures to filter out the noise and get the most relevant information you want. 

Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon, compared to 13 percent who started their search from a traditional search site. 

ComScore found that product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year, while shopping searches on Google have been flat. Indeed, when it comes to search and overall web traffic referrals, Google is still the top referral source. 

Facebook is now the top referral source for digital publishers. All this translates to severe implications for Google which is increasingly failing to catch up with the change recently. 

The search behemoth makes hundreds of changes in its search algorithm to improve search results for 1.2 trillion searches per year globally. Ironically, some of its major search enhancements were directed towards promoting its own products . The search giant has bought millions of its own ads to display their products atop search results, over those of ad-buying customers. On the business side, too, Google Search revenue saw a decline for the first time in 2016. 



From the usability perspective, the nature of ‘online search’ has changed. But Google search per se is still stuck with Blue Links –despite initiatives such as Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph have been largely useful for users. 

The big fight to be the king of app search

Mobile search and YouTube are still driving Google’s growth and most these revenues derive from mobile. The mobile era is ruled by two giants –Apples’ iOS and Google’s Android. However, with Apple marking a move into web and app search, the big challenge ahead for Google is to prove its relevance in mobile search. 

Apple, which did a revenue sharing agreement with its rival in 2014 and received $1 Billion, is now trying to get more app results in their search tools. Google’s desperation showed up when it released a series of enhancements to embolden search for mobile, including in-App indexing. 

Between October 2013 --when the search giant released app indexing for a limited set of publishers, and August 2016, the company released over 13 enhancements to augment the visibility of app content in search. But is it enough for Google to survive in the app era? Probably not! 

The last words: Is it time to reimagine search?

Amit Singhal –the then chief of Google Search, in an interview with Recode said, ‘Google will not only survive the transition to mobile apps, but will thrive in it.’ However, the story looks different today with new approaches of search coming up.Jelly Search --created by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and recently acquired by Pinterest, reimagines search as a social network which gets you answers from real people. 

When Google first launch semantic search, it was a major search breakthrough which was not only competent enough to decipher complex queries, it also helped users find the most relevant information. 



Can Google turn the tide for one more time before companies like Apple or any other disruptor makes a serious entry? Because ‘search’ will continue to flourish, even if there is no Google! 

Author : Mastufa Ahmed

Source : http://www.in.techradar.com/news/internet/web/whats-wrong-with-the-iconic-google-search/articleshow/57556216.cms

Categorized in Search Engine

BARACK Obama is planning a coup, fluoride is dulling my IQ and five US Presidents were members of the Ku Klux Klan — well, that’s if you believe the “facts” that Google delivers.

The search engine giant has joined Facebook as being a deliverer of fake news, thanks to the reliance of an algorithm which looks for popular results rather than true results.

Generally, Google escapes a lot of the bad press that other tech giants, quite fairly, cop.

Twitter is a place where nameless trolls say inexecutable things while Facebook is the place where ignorant people share their ignorant views in a way that is unreasonably popular. Just ask US President Donald Trump.

But now it’s Google’s term to cop some flak and it’s because the search engine, rather than just deliver results, also seeks to return what Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land calls the “one true answer”.

The reason Google is now a spreader of lies and falsehood comes down to the realisation that we Google things we want an answer to.

Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California. Picture: AP

Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California. Picture: APSource:News Limited 

Want to know “when did World War II” end, you type it into Google. And rather than just get a link to dozens of websites, we also get a box at the top of the screen with the dates of World War II.

You have a question and now you have an answer.

This way of delivering a fact is called a “featured snippet”. It’s been a feature that Google has delivered since 2014 and, generally, people have been happy. But they’re not happy now because Google’s one true answer, in some cases, is total rubbish.

The problem is particularly highlighted with the Google Home speaker, the smart speaker that in some cases has been delivering dumb answers.

Several people have shared videos on YouTube and Twitter of asking Google Home the question: Is Obama planning a coup?

The real answer would be something like “naw mate, he’s living the good life and glad to be doing so”. The answer, according to Google, is yep — he’s in league with the Chinese.

Likewise, according to Google Home, there have been five US presidents who were members of the Ku Klux Klan. Nope, according to more reliable sources, there is no evidence that any US presidents were members of the Klan although some were racists. (Eight US presidents, including George Washington, owned slaves.)

You can keep going down this rabbit hole of misinformation that is not all right-wing conspiracies. According to Google snippets, Obama’s birth certificate is forged, Donald Trump is paranoid and mentally ill and “republicans = Nazis”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Not all of the false answers are political. There is medical misinformation, including the claim that fluoride will lower your IQ, and it took God six days to create the Earth.

Google has issued a statement blaming the misinformation on the algorithm and says people can click on a feedback button on each boxed fact to report it as incorrect.

The problem Google faces in all of this is the amount of misinformation out there.

The “facts” that it delivers comes from the top ten results for each query. Arguably, Google is the messenger and someone else has created the falsehood and spread it.

Sullivan crunched the numbers to work out how Google might fix it.

It could, for instance, assign a person to check each fact.

But given Google processes 5 billion queries a day and about 15 per cent of them have featured snippets, that would require someone to check nearly 1 billion facts a day.

Or it could drop the feature altogether, but the problem in the age of Apple Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, is that people are now used to asking a device a question and expecting an answer.

Other solutions would be to more obviously source the fact, so that it’s clear that it comes from something that is an unreliable source. Or only deliver snippets if they come from a list of vetted sites — but even that is problematic.

Here is the one real answer. Don’t believe everything you hear — even if the person talking is a smart speaker with artificial intelligence. They’ll say anything.

Source : http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/google-joins-facebook-in-fake-news-cycle-with-algorithm-delivering-false-facts/news-story/1d65166dc1a2ac947aa3c0d10c806721

Categorized in Search Engine

Earlier this year at Facebook's F8 conference, the company revealed three innovation pillars that make up the company's ten-year vision: connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR). Facebook's Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer is responsible for leading each of them. Despite the fact that the vision is ten-years in duration, the company has made significant progress in each.

Facebook's progress in AI can been seen in everything from the company's news feed to the way in which people are tagged. The virtual reality innovations are best demonstrated through the Oculus Rift, which I demo'd last Thursday. More recently, the company made a great flight forward on the connectivity pillar as Acquila, a long-endurance plane that will fly above commercial aircraft and the weather, took flight in Arizona. The goal is for this v-shaped aircraft that has a wingspan longer than a Boeing 737, but weighs under 1,o00 pounds to bring basic internet access to the developing world.

I met with Schroepfer at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, and we discussed these three pillars and a variety of other topics, including the company's recruiting methods, how the company maintains its innovative edge, and the logic behind its headquarters - one of the largest open-space offices in the world.

(This interview is excerpted from the 250th broadcast of the Forum on World Class IT. To listen to that unabridged interview, please visit this link. This is the 18th interview in the IT Influencers series. To listen to past interviews with the likes of former Mexican President Vicente Fox, Sal Khan, Sebastian Thrun, Steve Case, and Walt Mossberg, please visit this link.)

Peter High: Earlier this year at F8 2016, Facebook’s developer’s conference, you introduced three innovation pillars. Could you take a moment to highlight each of them?

Mike Schroepfer: We have been, I think pretty uniquely in the industry, very public about our ten-year vision and roadmap, and we have broken it down into three core areas:

  • connectivity, connecting the approximately four billion people in the world who do not have internet access today (the majority of the world);
  • artificial intelligence in solving some of the core problems and building truly intelligent computer systems; and
  • virtual reality and augmented reality, building the next generation of computing systems that have probably the best promise that I am aware of to give me the ability to feel like I am present with someone in the same room, even if they are thousands of miles away.

High: With the abundant resources and brain power at Facebook, how did you choose those three as opposed to others?

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer

Schroepfer: A lot of this derives directly from [Facebook CEO] Mark [Zuckerberg], and comes from the mission, which is to make the world more open and connected. I think of this simply as using technology to connect people. We sit down and say, “OK, if that is our goal, the thing we are uniquely suited for, what are the big problems of the world?” As you start breaking it down, these fall out quite naturally. The first problem is if a bunch of the world does not even have basic connectivity to the internet, that is a fundamental problem. Then you break it down and realize there are technological solutions to problems; there are things that can happen to dramatically reduce the cost of deploying infrastructure, which is the big limiting factor. It is just an economics problem. Once people are connected, you run into the problem you and I have, which is almost information overload. There is so much information out there, but I have limited time and so I may not be getting the best information. Then there is the realization that the only way to scale that is to start building intelligent systems in AI that can be my real-time assistant all the time, making sure that I do not miss anything that is critical to me and that I do not spend my time on stuff that is less important. The only way we know how to do that at the scale we operate at is artificial intelligence.

So there is connectivity and I am getting the right information, but most of us have friends or family who are not physically next to us all the time, and we cannot always be there for the most important moments in life. The state of the art technology we have for that right now is the video camera. If I want to capture a moment with my kids and remember it forever, that is the best we can do right now. The question is, ‘What if I want to be there live and record those moments in a way that I can relive them twenty years from now as if I was there?’ That is where virtual reality comes in. It gives you the capability of putting a headset on and experiencing it today, and you feel like you are in a real world somewhere else, wherever you want to be.

High: How do you think about those longer term goals, the things that are going to take a lot of stair steps to get to, versus the near-term exhaust of ideas that are going to be commercialized and commercial-ready?

Schroepfer: The biggest thing that I try to emphasize when I talk about the ten-year plan is to be patient when it does not work because no great thing is just a straight linear shot. I have started companies in the past and it is never a straight shot. The time at Facebook is seen from the outside as maybe always things are going great, but there are always a lot of ups and downs along the way. The key thing is not to get discouraged in the times when it is not going well. The other thing is if you can have intermediate milestones along the way which help you understand that you are making progress, that is handy. AI is quite easy because the team has already deployed tons of stuff that dramatically improves the Facebook experience every day. This can be as simple as techniques to help us better rank photos, so you do not miss the important photos in your life, to more fundamental things like earlier this year we launched assistive technology so that if you have a visual impairment and cannot see the billions of images uploaded every day on Facebook we can generate and read you a caption. We could not ever do that at human scale.

These are happening every day and, at the same time, we are working on much harder problems. How do you teach a computer to ingest a bunch of unstructured data, like the contents of a Wikipedia article, and then answer questions about it? That seems straightforward, but that is the frontier of artificial intelligence where you can reason and understand about things that are not pre-digested and pre-optimized by a person who put it in a nice key value format for you. When you look at that, that stuff is farther reaching and rudimentary.

In VR we want to deliver products on the market today so you can go into your Best Buy today and buy an Oculus Rift headset. Realize that that is going to be a relatively small market in 2016. Compared to the billion people today who use Facebook, it is going to seem tiny, but we hope every year better content will occur. We will release updated systems every few years, and as the systems get better and cheaper, low and behold in ten years you will have hundreds of millions of people in VR, rather than a few million. You have to have patience for that ramp, and not get disappointed when it does not have that many users in the short term.

There are intermediate milestones on the connectivity side, like our first flight of Aquila a couple of weeks ago, which was awesome and mind-bending and people were literally in tears. But that was the first flight of our first vehicle. There are many steps between that and a vehicle which is fully ready to perform the end goal, which is providing internet access for people where it is too expensive to lay fiber lines across a large area. So you try to have a long term vision, be patient when things might fail, but then also have these intermediate steps where you can be making progress and adding value and see where things are going. At least that is the way I think of it.

High: To solve the problems you are going after requires not only brain power, but also people with a wide array of backgrounds, perhaps more so than when the company began. You need the whole swath of STEM topics, people with advanced neuroscience specialties, and so forth. Especially here in Silicon Valley, where there is such a war for talent, how do you think about talent acquisition?

Schroepfer: Honestly, this is the real joy of the job. Now we are in this place where certainly it is a challenge to find talent, but magic occurs when it is cross-disciplinary. Let’s talk about flying this aircraft. You have high end composite material, electrical systems and electrical engines. A key part is using latest generation battery technology using solar cells. Then we need a communication system that can beam internet up and down between this plane, which means we are doing free space optics and have laser communications and laser transmitters and receivers. You need a software system that can help control flight on this aircraft, an aircraft that has never been built before. We need to build simulations of what this thing is going to look like. You have your machine learning software, hardware, electrical, aeronautics, material science, and all of these things together. When you can get them into a small team—this is a few dozen people together—and you get them clearly oriented on this goal, a lot of great stuff happens. Our core strategy in the company, our technology, is about bringing people together.

High:  How much liberty do people have to explore ideas in areas of their own choosing?

Schroepfer: A lot. A fundamental principle from the beginning of when I was here was that you have smart, well-educated people who are at the top of their field and they can work anywhere. They are going to be best used if you have them working on the thing that they are excited about. If they wake up in the morning and run in to work because they cannot wait to solve the problem, then they are going to produce much better stuff. There are certainly times where we try to convince someone to try to work on something else, or explain to them what is important, but a lot of my job ends up being to get the right talent here, and then to clearly and crisply articulate our end goal: “This is what I want you to work on. There are lots of ways you can contribute. Figure out what part of this makes you the most excited and dive in and go.” Then we can start putting some of the pieces together and build some of this technology. So there is a lot of freedom in what we do.

High: How do you think about building an ecosystem to do this outside of the company, in addition to the team you have built inside the company?

Schroepfer: This is an area where we have tried to innovate a lot. If you go back even five or six years to the foundation of the Open Compute Project, this was like everyone has accepted that open source is a great way to develop software. I used to work at Mozilla and we built a browser in open source. Pretty much every company out there has Linux running somewhere—that has open source; we all contributed to the same Linux kernel, but did not do it for hardware. We said, “Let’s do that for hardware.” So our datacenter designed the buildings themselves, the racks, the servers—everything in there is open for people to collaborate. Now you have the whole industry collaborating, including, very recently, Google. We are running that same playbook now in connectivity, such as in telecom infrastructure. If we can get the industry together, it ends up benefitting everyone because you share in a bunch of the core IP, you build on the same components, you get economies of scale and production, stuff is cheaper, and it gets more proliferated out there.

When you look at things like AI research, we are aggressively publishing and open sourcing our work. We are at all the major conferences. I was just reviewing with the team recently the core advances they had developed. One they had developed a few years ago was called “memory networks” as a way to attach a sort of a short-term memory to a convolutional neural net, and that was a capability we had not had before. The work then was in 2014 and since then there have been citations to that work. Every month there is a new paper out which shows a new advancement and enhancement to that technique that improves on some basic question and answering benchmarks. You look at the aggregate rate of throughput of the entire industry, versus if we just did it ourselves, and it is great because we can fast forward by building on work that just happened and be two years ahead of where we would be if we had just tried to do it ourselves. Fundamental technology can benefit lots of things besides Facebook. Whenever we can do that, we are big fans.

High: How do you keep yourself abreast of new innovations that are happening both at your company and outside your company?

Schroepfer: This is where I think I might have the best job in the industry. First of all, I read everything I can see. But even better than that is I get to go sit down and talk with the teams doing the work and that is by far the best part of my day. Just a few weeks ago, I sat down with the Facebook research team and we did a day-long briefing on all of the work that they are doing. Here is Yann LeCun, who has written the seminal papers on convolutional neural nets in the 1990’s, taking the team through his vision of where we are going. The team is reviewing not just the work they are doing, but, because they publish and open source it, also the work other people have built on top of that to solve similar problems. Then I walk away from that and get to talk to some people here building some of the latest social apps with VR and look at what we are trying out there. I get a chance to talk to people in the industry at tech conferences or when I see people doing interesting work, and I get a chance to understand what is happening there. It is a lot of fun. It is honestly hard to keep up with because there is so much stuff happening all the time and it is all fun and fascinating.

High: Having had a chance to walk around headquarters here, I want to ask how you have thought about creating a space that fosters the collaboration necessary, not only within these four walls, but also beyond that, wherever Facebook is?

Schroepfer: You are sitting in a building which is one of the world’s largest single floor office buildings. It is 2,800 people on a single floor with no individualized offices—you see everyone sitting out in desks here. This was designed as an experiment to see how far we could push collaboration if we had literally thousands of people in the same room. There are VC systems in every room so people can VC between our major offices. Obviously, one of the secret weapons we have had, that we have now made available to others, is Facebook itself. Everyone is on Facebook all day, because we work here, and it turns into a great collaboration tool: you have Facebook groups, Facebook messenger, you have all these great ways which are fundamentally about aggregating a bunch of information and being able to keep up with it. It could be ‘let’s see what my friends are up to’, or it could be what sixteen different teams are working on at the same time. The tools work well for that, too.

The subtle thing that I think a lot of people miss is that the key to collaboration is when people can bring their perspective and their point of view and their expertise, and spend the time it takes to understand the other person and empathize with what problem they are working on. This could be across domains. Let’s say I am a machine learning person and I am trying to understand what a medical doctor is trying to do to look at patterns in drug discoveries. The more I can understand about their problem, the more I can help them with that. A lot of what our culture builds is that basic empathy because you are on Facebook and so not only are you seeing what is going on with colleagues at work, but you are seeing what is going on in their real life, too: kids going off to school next week or coming back from vacation. It brings this sense of cohesion I have not ever experienced in any other organization anywhere near our scale.

High: As the organization grows, as it becomes a technology behemoth, to what extent do you worry or think about maintaining that smaller company feel, and the entrepreneurial spirit? Obviously, there are many innovative companies that have come before you that had bright days in the sun and then experienced a lot of rainy days after that.

Schroepfer: That is something we think about all the time. There are pros and cons of growth. The “pro” is that we are working on all this exciting stuff and we have specialists in all these areas. If you are an engineer joining the company and you want to learn more about AI or more about aircraft or virtual reality, we have all of that for you to do today in house, which is awesome and a big plus. But it is challenging to get a larger group of people unified under a common mission. I think this boils down to a couple things that we work on all the time. The first is that you want people to have a real sense of alignment towards the end goal. What can happen in a large organization is it gets federated and everyone is working on different things and so their goals are not aligned. We are clear about our mission – connecting people using technology—and we are clear that if you are excited about that, great, come here, and if you are not, there are lots of other great places to work.

I like to think that a lot of our job is engineering the culture. If you think about engineering as building a system, the way in which we all work together is a system, and we can spend time engineering that—as simple as what is your experience onboarding as a new hire. For most companies, that is a day and a half filling out a bunch of paperwork. For us, it is an intensive, six-week, boot camp onboarding which is designed to get you as exposed to as much technology and people across the company as possible. At the end of those six weeks, no matter what you are working on, you have met hundreds of engineers across the company, and not just in a superficial way. You have written a piece of code and had someone review it, and you have poked around and talked to them and asked them about a bug. So when you exit boot camp, everyone gets to know each other well because whether you have been fifteen years in the industry or you are just out of college, we are both figuring out Facebook, and that builds a bond. That gets spread throughout the company and you build connections between those people in the class, and each one of those individuals met tons of people across the company, so when someone has a question about something a team is doing, it is like “Oh, I met Mary when I was working on this bug. I will go ask her. Maybe she knows who to talk to.” It builds those loose connections that are so critical to building that cohesion.

I could go on and on because we have program after program designed to solve this exact problem, which is building cohesion across the groups. After boot camp, it is hackamonth, where, eighteen months into your job, you take a month and completely rotate to another team. You can learn a new skill, work in a different area entirely, meet a whole new group of people, and just continue this cohesion across the company.

High: You did that yourself, as Sheryl Sandberg and you switched jobs for a week.

Schroepfer: Absolutely. I learned what it was like to be in her shoes, and vice versa. We are just trying to keep it mixed up wherever we can, which I think is helping. It is a hard problem, so there is a lot to work on, but it is something we focus on.

High: If I could take it one step further back in the chain to the recruiting process: how do you evaluate talent? Especially now that the company is shooting for long-term objectives, and given some of the uncertainty and value you are seeking, how do you think about talent acquisition?

Schroepfer: The first obvious thing you want to do is see whether they have the raw skills needed to accomplish the job—and that is a much broader palette than it used to be. It used to be mostly software engineering, but now it could be electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, a specialty in AI. For each of those roles, there are different ways, but basically it boils down to some form of technical verification that they are state of the art in that field. The second is that collaboration is important to us. Part of the interview process is collaborative problem solving. Half of it is did they get the answer right, and the other half is whether they able to work with the other person in the room towards that answer because that is the way the real world is. Hollywood has the person in the basement, solo, creating everything, but nothing interesting I have ever seen is made that way. It is always a team. We just want to make sure that this person can communicate clearly and collaborate well with the group, and that is what we look for.

Author : Peter High

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhigh/2016/08/15/facebooks-10-year-plan-connectivity-artificial-intelligence-and-virtual-reality/3/#4e865773c3cd

Categorized in Social

Have you ever wondered how Facebook collects all the data it has to feed you with the content it presumes you’ll like and keep you coming back for more? Well, now there’s an app that can answer these questions.

Available for free, Data Selfie is an open-source Chrome extension that helps you discover how machine learning algorithms track and process your Facebook activity, and gain insights about your personality and habits.

“The most awesome stage”

Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.

To accomplish this, the nifty extension monitors your Facebook interactions for patterns and then crunches the collected data into insightful reports.

Data Selfie essentially tracks your activity – what you look at, how long you look at it, what you like, what you click and what you type – and then applies natural language processing and machine learning algorithms from IBM Watson and the University of Cambridge to turn this data into insight.

The extension comes with a handy dashboard that shows your aggregated Facebook activity in a timeline, conveniently broken down with color coding to highlight different aspects about your data usage.

In addition to this, the Data Selfie dashboard also includes insight into what posts you’ve spent most time on – both for friends and liked pages. In a creepily fascinating way, the extension also uses predictive analytics to guess stuff like your political affiliations as well as shopping and nutrition preferences.

To prevent ill-intended individuals from obtaining the information it collects about you, Data Selfie keeps your data locally – only on your own machine – and never stores anything on external servers.

As part of its initiative to promote internet transparency, creator Data X has made the code for Data Selfie available on GitHub for curious developers to peruse. Head to this repository for more details.

Start learning how Facebook’s algorithms collect and interpret your activity patterns, and get Data Selfie from the Chrome Web Store here.

Author : mix

Source : https://thenextweb.com/facebook/2017/02/17/facebook-chrome-track-data-selfie/#.tnw_eUGqdI0M

Categorized in Social

Social media gaint Facebook is aiming to go head-to-head with LinkedIn. The world’s largest social network announced today that it has launched several new features on its Web site to make it easier for employers to get in contact with job seekers.

Businesses will be able to post openings for positions on their Facebook pages, while job seekers will be able to browse through openings thanks to a new Jobs bookmark.

"We're focused on building new ways to help make it easier for businesses to interact with the over 1 billion people visiting Pages every month," the company said in a statement. "Businesses and people already use Facebook to fill and find jobs, so we're rolling out new features that allow job posting and application directly on Facebook."

Reaching Out to Enterprise Clients

Facebook's argument is that employers and potential employees are using their site constantly, making it a natural platform for people looking for qualified candidates. That argument sounds particularly pointed with regard to competing social network LinkedIn, which is used almost exclusively when people are searching for work or to network in their industries.

In the last several months, Facebook has been making a renewed effort to appeal to enterprise customers with new features designed with them in mind. In October, the social network unveiled several updates to its Pages service geared toward helping businesses interact more effectively with the more than 1 billion visitors the site receives every month.

"Beginning today, businesses in the US and Canada will be able to post job openings, and their future employees will be able to easily find those posts on their Page or in the new jobs bookmark," the company said. "This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they're already spending their time -- on Facebook and on mobile."

Simple Functionality

Employers will be able to create job posts through the admins of their Pages. They can then use the new feature to track applications and communicate directly with applicants. After posting jobs, the admins will be able to review applications and contact applicants on Facebook Messenger.

The process is similar for job applicants, the company said. Job posts may appear in their News Feeds, in the new bookmark for jobs and alongside other posts on business Pages. When they click on the Apply Now button, a form will open that is pre-populated with information from their profiles on Facebook. Applicants will also be able to edit their information before submitting it.

None of this functionality may seem all that revolutionary, or provide job seekers with anything they cannot already find on LinkedIn or other job searching sites. What may be the differentiator, however, is Facebook’s status as one of the most frequently visited Web sites in the world. The sheer number of eyeballs Facebook is able to regularly attract may be sufficient to give LinkedIn a run for its money.

Author : Jef Cozza

Source : http://www.newsfactor.com/news/Facebook-Adds-Job-Search-Features/story.xhtml?story_id=1000096XPDCC

Categorized in Social

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