Facebook is teaching artificially intelligent computers to predict the future

ZUCK'S CRYSTAL BALL Facebook is teaching artificially intelligent computers to predict the future

Social network's top boffin says he wants computers to figure out how to guess 'what’s going to happen next'

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg approved the move, which will see the number of British staff at the social media giant employs rise to 1,500.

by Jasper Hamill 9th March 2017, 12:00 pm  Updated: 9th March 2017, 12:03 pm

MARK Zuckerberg’s top artificial intelligence expert has admitted he’s trying to teach computers to predict the future.

Yann LeCun, leader of Facebook’s AI research division, said this terrifying-sounding capability is “a big part of our effort in making progress” in the development of super-smart computers.

He previously worked on the development of technology which could be useful to anyone developing surveillance systems.

LeCun contributed to academic papers exploring the creation of software which would serve as a “key component” in an automated surveillance network.

"We are very interested in the idea that a learning system should be able to predict the future," he told MIT Technology Review.

"You show it a few frames of video and it tries to predict what’s going to happen next.

"If we can train a system to do this we think we'll have developed techniques at the root of an unsupervised learning system. That is where, in my opinion, a lot of interesting things are likely to happen."

Teaching computers to predict the future would be useful in all sorts of ways in the coming decades.

Firstly, it would allow them to guess what humans want or need.

This might mean, for instance, that your smartphone will be able to tell if you're hungry, decide you want to eat a pizza and then order a domestic droid to make sure there's one cooking in the oven when you get home.

Computers could also have a stab at predicting world events or the movements of the stock markets, although this is likely to prove difficult.

Computers with artificial intelligence may be able to make a more educated guess about the future than humans due to their powerful data-crunching abilities and ability to detect patterns.

However, letting computers peer into crystal balls could have profound effects on human freedoms.

Zuckerberg's charitable foundation is also funding the development of mind-reading brain implants.

Do we really want private companies like Facebook to know what we're thinking - and what we're planning to do?


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