Facebook acquires AI firm for human speech enhancements

BY LEAH WILLIAMS
Posted on FEB 20, 2019

Facebook continues to delegate more platform moderation duties to algorithms.

Facebook has acquired Bloomsbury AI, a London-based artificial intelligence firm which specializes in natural language processing.

The company says Bloomsbury's "expertise will strengthen Facebook's efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications", according to a post from the official Academics page.
Facebook projects AI goals that align with the understanding of images, videos, and text to moderate the entire social network's platform, including Facebook and Instagram.

Meantime, human contractors and teams inspect flagged and reported material. As Facebook enhances AI capabilities, the human analysis will be performed by algorithms. As a result, the company requires software to better understand language, the intent beyond that language, and other very tricky problems still out of reach for most modern AI.

The announcement post says that Bloomsbury's work has focused on "machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question." This may indicate Bloomsbury's advantage towards Facebook AI tasks of filtering the massive amount of user-uploaded content on the social network every day.

Additionally, Facebook is also working on an AI-assisted home speaker with a display, with the possibility that Bloomsbury's team may innovate the product to improve its ability to understand spoken commands and return answers with natural-sounding speech