Facebook currently takes in the information its users serve it. That means “likes,” location, pages its users follow, and who they are friends with. But, Mark Zuckerberg, during the company’s 2016 Q1 investors call, said he envisions a future five to 10 years down the line in which artificial intelligence will be able to predict all of that kind of info before a user actually gives it up.
“The thing that we’re focused on with artificial intelligence is building computer systems that have better perception than people,” Zuckerberg tells investors. “The basic human senses, like seeing, hearing, and language, is a core thing at what we do. I think it’s possible in the next five to 10 years where we have computer systems that are better than people at each of those things.”
He added that it doesn’t mean computers will be thinking or “better” overall than actual human beings, just that they will help platforms such as Facebook to understand better what people might want to do with their content or may come up with new, more targeted ways to deliver ads.
Zuckerberg offered the example of machines actually knowing what the content is. While Facebook might know that a user liked a piece of content, it doesn’t fundamentally understand what that photo is, who is in the video or the words written on the article linked.
During the earnings call there was little to no evidence that the company is lacking the kind of resources to make that future a reality.
Facebook reported a strong quarter that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Year after year the company’s revenue grew to $5.38 billion, which represents a whopping 52 percent gain over the prior year. This was largely driven by ads, especially on the company’s mobile platform and through videos. Facebook’s reported figures back this up, as mobile monthly users grew to 1.5 billion and monthly mobile-only users grew to 894 million, which is a one-percent increase over the same quarter in 2015.
Facebookers have noticed the above figures in the forms of increased amount of video content on their feeds, lots of news about the future of Messenger’s new chatbots, and numerous notifications for friends streaming Live videos on the service.
You don’t need a fancy A.I.-grade perception to see that Facebook is growing robustly and fast.