AI is advancing itself at Facebook

Facebook researchers are working to see how well and how quickly robots can teach themselves to walk, feel their way around tricky spaces and otherwise try new robot-y things through AI-driven trial and error.

While the scientists have no healthcare-specific end goals in mind—or at least none they’re stating so far—those are sure to come soon enough, healthcare being one of the biggest and friendliest playing fields for high-tech innovation and all.

The social media giant’s chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, PhD, tells Wired the idea is to let AI make robots smarter by letting robots advance AI. Or vice versa.

“A lot of the interesting problems and interesting questions that are connected with AI—particularly the future of AI, how can we get to human-level AI—are currently being addressed by people who work in robotics,” LeCun clarifies.  

He also offers that robotics are likely to play an increasing role in advancing Facebook’s core mission and vision, which is connecting people. “The logical succession of this,” LeCun adds, “is perhaps things that you can control from a distance.”

The Wired writer, Matt Simon, notes that Facebook’s interest in such things has been controversial of late. Likewise, its new work combining AI with robotics “will certainly bring up questions of privacy and security.”

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