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Your Instagram posts help Facebook crack down on terrorists

Artificial intelligence that detects posts from terrorists. A virtual reality version of yourself that looks and move...

Posted: May 3, 2018 7:51 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 7:51 AM

Artificial intelligence that detects posts from terrorists. A virtual reality version of yourself that looks and moves like a real human. Instant translations of thousands of languages.

For the second day of F8 developer's conference in San Jose, Facebook switched from data scandal apologies and new features, such as its dating service, to cool experimental projects and ... ethics.

Facebook executives on Wednesday outlined the company's latest advances in artificial intelligence, connectivity and virtual reality. The research is shaping the next generation of Facebook. For example, it believes people will one day be hanging out together in virtual reality versions of their kitchens.

Amid Facebook's tumultuous past year of scandals -- including election interference, fake news and Cambridge Analytica's use of personal data -- the company is focusing on the positive side of innovation across its products.

Another example is how Facebook is using AI to screen and remove content -- often before it is ever seen by regular users, according to CTO Mike Schroepfer.

Related: Facebook tries to move past scandals with new features

In the first quarter of this year, Facebook's automated systems flagged 2 million pieces of "terrorist propaganda" on the site -- 99% of which were detected before it was seen by humans. Using technology such as natural language processing, the tools can flag bullying, hate speech and threats of self-harm, according to Schroepfer.

Content moderation is a pressing concern for technology companies. YouTube has struggled with offensive content, including conspiracy theories and disturbing children's videos. Facebook has alternately been accused of not doing enough to take down posts that include hate speech or removing too much content, such as women publicly naming their harassers.

While both companies have said they're adding more human screeners, the massive volume of posts is nearly impossible handle manually.

About halfway through the presentation, the company took a detour to talk in-depth about the ethics issues with AI.

"Process checks alone are not enough. We need to ensure that our actions and consequences are aligned with an ethical framework," said Facebook data scientist Isabel Kloumann.

Kloumann said Facebook has guidelines to detect and correct any biases that show up in its algorithms. The company continues to grow its bias-checking systems to "evaluate the personal and societal implications of every product we build."

Users of Facebook-owned Instagram might be surprised to learn their pictures of birthday parties and dogs are being used to train these artificial intelligence tools. Facebook has scanned 3.5 billion publicly tagged photos to teach its systems nuances like a cupcake verses a muffin.

Facebook also showed off work it's doing on incredibly realistic avatars for virtual reality that move their lips along with the words you're saying in real time.

The second day of F8 is typically reserved for this kind of futuristic technologies. Last year, Regina Dugan, the former head of Facebook's Building 8, teased research about typing with your brain and hearing with your skin. Updates on those projects were not mentioned at this year's conference.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 129863

Reported Deaths: 2367
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Ramsey13782357
Dakota9541137
Anoka8414150
Stearns566541
Washington546970
Scott329334
Olmsted318330
St. Louis285065
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112754

Reported Deaths: 1615
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18617286
Woodbury704194
Johnson576330
Black Hawk544098
Linn5342129
Dubuque501657
Scott433738
Story394418
Dallas339744
Pottawattamie314844
Sioux236416
Buena Vista224112
Marshall198336
Webster180715
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Clinton143026
Muscatine140758
Crawford134414
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Warren12037
Carroll109912
Jasper107034
Henry10325
Marion96310
Lee93110
Tama92737
Delaware74212
Dickinson7217
Wright7101
Boone7039
Mahaska67024
Bremer6559
Harrison63711
Washington63411
Jackson5763
Benton5532
Lyon5337
Clay5144
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