Facebook needs machines that can understand the way we humans behave and write and even feel.
In January — after the company rolled out a limited public trial of Graph Search, a way of searching activity on the popular social network — Facebook engineers were forced to tweak their algorithms so they could translate slang like “pics of my homies” into more straightforward language like “pictures of my friends” and convert expressions like “dig,” “off the chain,” and “off the hook” into that standard Facebook word: “Like.”
This worked well enough. But it’s just the beginning. Like Google and Apple and other tech giants, Facebook is exploring a new field called “deep learning,” which will allow its machines to better understand all sorts of nuanced language and behavior that we humans take for granted. In short, deep learning teaches machines to behave more like the human brain. Facebook’s effort only recently got off the ground — “we’re just getting started,” a company spokesperson says — but its importance will expand as time goes on.”