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Facebook’s DeepText is Making the Internet Smarter

The future is here. No longer is artificial intelligence the premise of science fiction films, it is in our very news feeds, making our internet even smarter than before.

In the past week, Facebook has announced the integration of DeepText, a clever piece of artificial intelligence that understands you perfectly. Still in its testing phases, it will be able to interpret it to human-level accuracy to understand complex shades of meaning.

The AI will work around the clock to scan and analyse everything that’s posted to the social network, from text to photos and videos. Impressively, it can parse several thousand posts every second and works with more than 20 languages.

When it’s launched, it will give Facebook users a heap of new features that will truly enhance their news feed experience, including tailored content, targeted ads, scheduling everyday tasks and even handling harassment online.

Tailor content to your interests

Facebook has already begun to roll out custom news feeds, which gives each user the power to switch between their interests at will, therefore providing customised news at the click of a button. DeepText will be able to make these separate feeds even stronger by improving its sorting process.

As the AI will understand the context – not just the content – of everything that’s written, it will be able to place more specific content into each feed. A simple text-reading algorithm may not be able to distinguish between blackberry (a tart fruit) and BlackBerry (the global mobile communications company). But DeepText can, and will easily sort these posts into the Health or Tech categories respectively.

Of course, this is just the beginning and DeepText will understand much more than just single words. Eventually, you’ll receive a series of news feeds that speak to exactly what you want to hear about. In all, it’s part of Facebook’s plan to make the news feed more relevant to you.


Even more targeted ads

With this ability to tailor news feed content comes the flip side – Facebook will also able to present its users with more useful ads. Yes, they already display marketing that matches your interests but this will soon go a lot deeper. For better or worse, you’ll soon be seeing ads that match your personal interests. All this is great news for advertisers, too, as it means their ad spend is reaching the most interested eyes, and their returns on investment are more likely to improve.

Your personal assistant

As it boasts the ability to communicate fluently, as a human would, the AI is also able to act as your personal assistant, helping you streamline your everyday life with the help of some clever tech.

If you say to your friend, ‘I need a ride’, the algorithm will help you book an Uber through in-app integrations. Or, if you’re looking to offload some of your old possessions, posting ‘does anyone want my old bike for $200’ will make Facebook fill out a sales pro-forma that makes your transaction simple.

There is the potential for Facebook to collaborate with some of the biggest apps here, so your messenger account can act as the control centre for your life. As mentioned, there is talk of Uber joining the ranks of integrations, but maybe you’ll also be able to book accommodation if you mention needing a holiday, or reserve a table at the must-try restaurant.


Going even deeper

The algorithm goes well beyond just having some fun, though. As it’s so brilliant, it is able to recognise spam, harassment and abuse, flagging these as issues and removing them from the user’s news feed.

As even more keyboard warriors are taking to the net to voice their opinions, DeepText could be a great way of taking away their power and making Facebook a safer, more inclusive place for all.

And what about the issues?

DeepText can also scan your private messages, leaving many worried about the privacy implications. This could be something to watch, especially since integrations with other companies have been slated. But really, although the new artificial intelligence is able to read your messages better than it ever could, Facebook has been tracking our interests since the very beginning.


By Stefanie Kir

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