F8 Summit News: Facebook Adds New AR, VR And AI Features

F8 Summit News: Facebook Adds New AR, VR And AI Features

F8, Facebook’s annual two-day event where developers come together to explore the future of technology revealed the company’s focus on the long-term technology of AR and VR, Connectivity and AI.

Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer kicked off the keynote, followed by Engineering Director Srinivas Narayanan, Research Scientist Isabel Kloumann and Head of Core Tech Product Management Maria Fernandez Guajardo.

The speakers discussed the positive impact of investment in these areas, including bringing connectivity to more people throughout the world, state-of-the-art research breakthroughs in AI as well as the development of entirely new experiences in AR/VR.

Facebook’s new product announcements around AI, AR, VR, Connectivity 


AR/VR 

  • Facebook’s advancements in AR and VR draw from an array of research areas to help us create better shared experiences, regardless of physical distance. From capturing realistic-looking surroundings to producing next-generation avatars, we’re closer to making AR/VR experiences feel like reality. Our research scientists have created a prototype system that can generate 3D reconstructions of physical spaces with surprisingly convincing results. Realistic surroundings are important for creating more immersive AR/VR, but so are realistic avatars.

    Facebook teams have been working on state-of-the-art research to help computers generate photorealistic avatars.

facebook avatars on mobile phones

Connectivity  

  • These advances in AI and AR/VR are relevant only if you have access to a strong internet connection — and there are currently 3.8 billion people around the world who don’t have internet access.
  • To increase connectivity around the world, Facebook has focused on developing next-generation technologies that can help bring the cost of connectivity down to reach the unconnected and increase capacity and performance for everyone else. In Uganda, they partnered with local operators to bring new fibre to the region that, when completed, will provide backhaul connectivity covering more than 3 million people and enable future cross-border connectivity to neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, Facebook and City of San Jose employees have begun testing an advanced Wi-Fi network supported by Terragraph. Trials of Terragraph are also planned for Hungary and Malaysia. They are also working with hundreds of partners in the Telecom Infra Project to build and launch a variety of innovative, efficient network infrastructure solutions. And, as with our work in AI and other areas, we are sharing what we learn about connectivity so that others can benefit from it.

Artificial Intelligence 

  • Facebook views AI as a foundational technology, and are investing heavily in this area  via scientist-directed research.
  • Today at F8, our artificial intelligence research and engineering teams shared a recent breakthrough: the teams successfully trained an image recognition system on a data set of 3.5 billion publicly available photos, using the hashtags on those photos in place of human annotations. This new technique will allow our researchers to scale their work much more quickly and they’ve already used it to score a record-high 85.4% accuracy on the widely used ImageNet benchmark. We’ve already been able to leverage this work in production to improve our ability to identify content that violates our policies.
  • This image recognition work is powered by Facebook’s AI research and production tools: PyTorch, Caffe2, and ONNX. Facebook also announced the next version of our open source AI framework, PyTorch 1.0, which combines the capabilities of all these tools to provide everyone in the AI research community with a fast, seamless path for building a broad range of AI projects. The technology in PyTorch 1.0 is already being used at scale, including performing nearly 6 billion text translations per day for the 48 most commonly used languages on Facebook. In VR, these tools have helped in deploying new research into production to make avatars move more realistically.
  • The PyTorch 1.0 toolkit will be available in beta within the next few months, making Facebook’s state-of-the-art AI research tools available to everyone. With it, developers can take advantage of computer vision advances like DensePose, which can put a full polygonal mesh overlay on people as they move through a scene — something that will help make AR camera applications more compelling.

For a deeper dive on Facebook’s AI updates and advancements, including our open source work on ELF OpenGo, check out the posts on Engineering Blog or visit facebook.ai/developers, where you can get tools and code to build your own applications.

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