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Facebook’s Yann LeCun says ‘internal activity’ proceeds on AI chips

The leader of Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research unit said the company is working on chips for machine learning, but he sounded hopeful that many solutions will come from the chip industry.

Talking to ZDNet at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco on Monday, Yann LeCun underlined the need for new kind of processing technologies targeting specifically deep learning.

“Certainly, it makes sense for companies like Google and Facebook that have high volume to work on their own engines if the industry doesn’t provide it.

“What Facebook has done traditionally is to partner with hardware vendors to entice them to build the stuff we think is good for us,” he said. 

LeCun has in the past mentioned the possibility for Facebook to produce their own AI chips, but during this last interview, he confirmed this possibility is about to become more tangible.

“The difference now is that there is internal activity on this,” he said. When asked to elaborate what that internal activity meant, LeCun answered by saying “I probably wouldn’t tell you.”

During the interview, LeCun also mentioned Google’s Tensor Processing Unit, or TPU, as an example of the kind of internal efforts by big companies Facebook might be following on this.

Furthermore, the leader of Facebook AI Research unit mentioned how he believes the next milestone development in AI will be about self-supervised learning. This will enable machines to generally learn about how the world works through data rather than just learning how to solve one particular problem.

“If we actually train [algorithms] to do this, there is going to be significant progress in the ability of machines to capture context and make decisions that are more complex,” LeCun said.

Such a development could be what companies like Facebook need to improve content moderation on their platforms, he added. However, he also said, “This is not something that’s going to happen tomorrow.”

You can watch the highlights of LeCun’s speech in a video posted by Facebook AI Research Monday morning

Photo via PublicDomainPictures/mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan


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