Facebook plan to double its AI research by 2020

Facebook's AI research lab expected to grow from an employee base of 180–200 to 400 by 2020 as it heavily invests in the technology


Facebook has confirmed its plans to double its AI research in the next two years expanding its Facebook AI Research (FAIR) unit by twice as much by 2020.

FAIR currently has an employee-base of around 180–200, but the social media giant is expected to reach 400 employees by 2020 as it heavily invests in its research and puts AI at the heart of its platforms.

Of the growth of his department, in an interview with Forbes the company's chief AI scientist Yann LeCun admitted: "I don't know everybody's name anymore and I don't recognise everybody either."

When asked whether FAIR is likely to double in size in the next couple of years, LeCun replied: "Yes, probably. That's a pretty safe bet."

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Facebook currently utilize AI in a number of ways across its platforms, from using it to "sniff out" offensive posts as well to developing an AI tool to help programmers automatically patch up buggy code.

In the past, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his enthusiasm for AI. Last year, he publicly debated with Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, over the dangers it will present, responding: "If you're arguing against AI then you're arguing against safer cars that aren't going to have accidents and you're arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they're sick."

Facebook's ambitious plans show its attempts to become the number one developer of AI technology, which sees it competing with Google, Apple and Amazon among many, many other tech giants.

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