Facebook’s business model depends upon knowing as much about us as possible. The social media giant is constantly searching for an edge in gathering our data — both online and in real life. That’s why some eyebrows were raised this week when the company announced new research that could give Facebook a front-row seat into our daily lives and the spaces that surround us.
Facebook unveiled a sound simulator and an indoor mapping tool that will allow it to train AI to navigate physical spaces. In effect, this would allow our technology to be able to “see” our surroundings.
“To accomplish a task like checking to see whether you locked the front door or retrieving a cell phone that’s ringing in an upstairs bedroom, AI assistants of the future must learn to plan their route, navigate effectively, look around their physical environment, listen to what’s happening around them, and build memories of the 3D space,” Facebook wrote in a blog post announcing the new research. “These smarter assistants will require new advances in embodied AI, which seeks to teach machines to understand and interact with the complexities of the physical world as people do.”
There are obviously positive applications for such a technology, but whether Facebook should be the ones behind it is a different matter entirely. The company already knows everything about us — does it need to come into our homes, too?
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