Facebook Acquires Bloomsbury AI
Facebook, which has been beleaguered by issues regarding privacy and security in recent months, has bought Bloomsbury AI, a British company that specializes in natural language processing. According to the announcement on Facebook’s Academics page, “We're excited to announce that the team behind Bloomsbury AI has agreed to join Facebook in London. The Bloomsbury team has built a leading expertise in machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question. Their expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications.”
While many companies are embracing Ai and Natural Language Processing as the “next big thing” Facebook just might be looking to solve some of its own problems. Just last week, news broke that Facebook’s own algorithms marked The Declaration of Independence as hate speech, and blocked it from being posted. Seems like the company could use some help fine-tuning its Ai solutions to help block real hate speech, and help spot the fake news that has been the source of so many of Facebook’s recent problems.
But Tech Radar thinks the explanation for this acquisition is simpler than that. Based on Bloomsbury AI’s expertise, writer Cat Ellis thinks its more likely that Facebook is on the hunt for more chatbot expertise: “Last year [Facebook] released a framework called ParlAI (parley, get it?) to help developers improve their chatbots' verbal skills, helping make those thousands of bots' replies faster and less robotic.”
Ellis suggests that Bloomsbury's technology could help bots read websites, brochures, and other documents, and answer questions based on what they have learned.