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Facebook to expand artificial intelligence team to Paris

Inside The F8 Facebook Developers ConferenceInside The F8 Facebook Developers Conference
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Facebook’s cutting edge technology works behind the scenes to handle all the social networking, photos and ads on the service.

The company has built up an impressive team for artificial intelligence, an area of computer science in which researchers can embed machines with the ability to imitate human behavior and make decisions, in New York and Menlo Park. On Tuesday, it will announce a new research hub based in Paris.

The new team will specialize “on ambitious long-term research projects in image recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition, and the kinds of physical and logical infrastructure required to run these AI systems,” according to Facebook (FB).

All of this artificial intelligence will be used to improve the social network’s various services including the news feed, photos, and search. Many big tech companies have been boasting of the benefits AI brings to their services, with both Google and Apple saying that they used AI to help improve voice recognition for Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search.

Facebook apparently wanted to set up shop in Paris because France is considered a hotbed for artificial intelligence research. In 2013, the company hired a leading French researcher, Yann LeCun, who is also director of the NYU Center for Data Science, to lead its artificial intelligence initiatives. LeCun still works part time at NYU, but also oversees Facebook’s 40-member artificial intelligence research lab, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook said it plans to “work openly with and invest in the artificial intelligence research community in France, the EU, and beyond as we strive to make meaningful progress in these fields.”

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