While Google is pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence forward, Facebook is making excuses for its inability to control hate speech, highlighting once again who is the leader and who the laggard in the field of AI.
Google has demonstrated a system that it has built that allows very poor-quality digital photos to be enhanced to reveal details of the photograph that have been completely obliterated. In a similar fashion to the way that Deep Mind built AlphaGo, Google has combined two neural networks to produce the algorithm capable of enhancing low resolution images. One of these networks uses its knowledge of certain images to add details while the other effectively reverse engineers the process by which the image was compressed into its current form.
The result is quite startling but it is worth remembering that the machine knew what the original image was a face or a bedroom, but no more than that.
Despite Google’s claim that this was an experiment only, with no plans to put it to use, I think that the uses for this are endless. This technology would be useful in upscaling video to high resolution screens, as well as being highly applicable to law enforcement, security, military, medical and so and so forth. Hence, I think that this technology or an offshoot of it is likely to find its way into Google’s products and services in the medium term.
To me this is another demonstration of how well Google leads the field of artificial intelligence, and is the closest to using it to enhance the richness and quality of its Digital Life services. This will be a huge benefit to Google, as better services will drive more usage through its networks giving it a greater opportunity to monetize.
This is also the opportunity that Facebook is chasing. However, when it comes to making its Digital Life services deeper and richer with intelligence, I see it being miles behind.
The problems that it has had with fake news, idiotic bots and its Facebook M virtual assistant all support my view that when Facebook tries to automate its systems, things always go wrong.
The problem is not that Facebook does not have the right people, but simply that it has not been working on artificial intelligence for nearly long enough. RFM research has found that time is the single most important element when it comes to having a solid foundation of intelligent algorithms upon which to build intelligent services (see here).
In contrast, Google has been working on this for over 20 years and is still innovating as fast as it can.
Facebook’s most recent pronouncement by one of its lawyers that it is unable to control hate speech on its platform due to the scale of data that is posted every day is just another data point highlighting the problem. Facebook has to get this under control – otherwise I fear that it will fail to really expand beyond social networking and instant messaging, as the offerings from its rivals will be more useful and more fun.
Facebook has some time to get to grips with this problem, but I still think it will have to resort to making a series of acquisitions in order to catch up with its rivals.
This article first appeared on RadioFreeMobile