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Facebook's AI research experiment is working with virtual tourists to guide them around NYC

Facebook's AI research lab, FAIR, is working on this project focusing on collecting information through regular language and not GPS or any other location tracking.

  • Published: July 12, 2018 5:35 PM IST
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Facebook is working on a research experiment where its ‘guide’ bots and ‘tourist’ bots (virtual tourist) are looking to explore New York city virtually, by collecting information through regular language only.

The Search giant has its AI research lab, FAIR, working with the University of Montreal on this experimental project. It recently conducted an experiment in which Facebook‘s tourist bot (virtual tourist) with 360-degree photos tried to find its way around New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen area, and it used Facebook’s guide bot help using just the 2D maps.

The research experiment by Facebook is called “Talk The Walk”, which according to FAIR team is “the first large-scale dialogue dataset grounded in action and perception.”

In this extensive AI experiment, the task involves two agents (a ‘guide’ and a ‘tourist’) that communicate via natural language (without the use of GPS or other location tracking) in order to achieve a common goal: having the tourist navigate to a given target location, noted the white paper published by FAIR and University of Montreal.

Facebook’s FAIR Lab researcher Douwe Kiela spoke to The Verge about the experiment, where he said that the current training method is like giving someone a dictionary of a foreign language and expecting them to teach themselves, but this project is focused on collecting information through regular language.

“With natural language processing, what we tend to do is take a large corpus like Wikipedia and [get AI] to look for statistical patterns, which is very different to how humans learn,” Kiela told Verge. “Humans learn language efficiently because we can relate our experiences to the world around us.”

A report from Techcrunch notes, Facebook isn’t doing this experiment to create some kind of mapping product for you to have a virtual guide, it is Facebook’s AI Research for “the long-term, less product-centric sphere.” Facebook is said to be building upon its AI concept called “Embodied AI”, which essentially strengthens AI models with the ability to learn on-the-go while gathering data around them.

  • Published Date: July 12, 2018 5:35 PM IST