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How Facebook Is Trying To Dispel Pop-Culture AI Myths?

First Posted: Dec 02, 2016 03:21 AM EST
Social media giant Facebook gives advice to students interested in the emerging field of artificial intelligence.

Social media giant Facebook gives advice to students interested in the emerging field of artificial intelligence. Credit:Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Facebook's Yann LeCun and Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, who run the company's Artificial Intelligence Lab and Applied Machine Learning group respectively advice students interested in artificial intelligence (AI) to become good in mastering math subjects.

Facebook's Tips On AI

According to Tech Crunch, LeCun and Candela specifically advise students to take Linear Algebra, Calc I, Calc II, Calc III, Statistics, and Probability as early as possible. Statistics and probability are perhaps the most interesting from this list. Differential equations power machine learning, while statistics power the machine itself.

The pair says that beyond math, computer science, engineering, neuroscience, and economics are also important subjects in today's economy. The two also say that philosophy is a necessary prerequisite to understand learning and knowledge. There is a human behind every application of AI and machine learning and, before start manipulating data, those humans need to understand how learning works.

Facebook also gives some tips about the actual mechanics of getting a job in the field of AI and machine learning. The swift rise of artificial intelligence, robotics. and advanced automation is fundamentally changing the nature of work. Technology might kill off jobs in traditional sectors but will also create new and fascinating jobs right in the field of AI and machine learning.

Artificial Intelligence Systems

Silicon Valley is training cars and trucks to drive themselves and computers to hear, see and speak. Not everyone is comfortable with this new wave of artificial intelligence that might remind us of Terminator-like sentient machines. For this reason, Facebook released a series of six instructional videos that try to dispel some of the pop-culture myths about AI by explaining this complex field of computer science.

As artificial intelligence is used for more everyday tasks, this Facebook campaign is part of a broader industry effort to influence public opinion. According to USA Today, top high-tech companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon recently formed an industry-led consortium with the aim to create a standard of ethics around the creation of artificial intelligence. Others companies in Silicon Valley are exploring the economic and social effects of artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence systems rely today on interconnected networks. These networks function similar to neurons in the brain. These AI systems can engage in simple logical reasoning, learn from experience to recognize patterns and even create images and come up with new ideas. In recent years, the field of artificial intelligence has exploded, from digital assistants to self-driving cars.

Machines are able now of intelligent tasks such as to translate an online post into a dozen of languages or to recognize objects in a photograph. And the AI systems are getting smarter all the time. As the machines are taking on more sophisticated tasks, the advances in the field of artificial intelligence could eventually deliver critical applications in such areas as personalized medicine and medical diagnosis.

According to Facebook, we are already using artificial intelligence all the time, whether searching on our smartphone to avoid traffic on the commute home or for a place to eat. Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important for Facebook, from monitoring for terrorist propaganda and activity to deciding what to show each of its 1.79 billion users in their News Feed. Since 2013, when it hired leading researcher Yann LeCun to head up its efforts, the giant social network has invested heavily in artificial intelligence. 

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