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Inside Facebook’s Quest for Software That Understands You

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I'm not sure I want a Facebook helper that offers me things:

At Facebook’s headquarters in California, the West Coast members of LeCun’s team sit close to Mark Zuckerberg and Mike Schroepfer, the company’s CTO. Facebook’s leaders know that LeCun’s group is still some way from building something you can talk to, but Schroepfer is already thinking about how to use it. The future Facebook he describes retrieves and coördinates information, like a butler you communicate with by typing or talking as you might with a human one.

“You can engage with a system that can really understand concepts and language at a much higher level,” says Schroepfer. He imagines being able to ask that you see a friend’s baby snapshots but not his jokes, for example. “I think in the near term a version of that is very realizable,” he says. As LeCun’s systems achieve better reasoning and planning abilities, he expects the conversation to get less one-sided. Facebook might offer up information that it thinks you’d like and ask what you thought of it. “Eventually it is like this super-intelligent helper that’s plugged in to all the information streams in the world,” says Schroepfer.

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