Facebook is acquiring Carnegie-Mellon startup FacioMetrics for its face recognition technology. FacioMetrics uses machine learning and other techniques to bring face recognition to mobile platforms, focusing at the moment upon Snapchat-style face masking and other cute selfie content capabilities. But it also bolsters Facebook’s move into AI, and aids in its ability to employ facial expression recognition as a social media response. According to Facebook’s intentions in this area, plans include: “Future applications of deep learning platform on mobile: Gesture-based controls, recognize facial expressions and perform related actions,”
The Facebook statement on the acquisition, as reported by Venturebeat, is that the Faciometrics team “will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos and build even more engaging sharing experiences on Facebook.”
According to the FacioMetrics press release from Founder and CEO Fernando De la Torre :
We began our research at Carnegie Mellon University developing state-of-the-art computer vision and machine learning algorithms for facial image analysis. Over time, we have successfully developed and integrated this cutting-edge technology into battery-friendly and efficient mobile applications, and also created new applications of this technology.
Now, we’re taking a big step forward by joining the team at Facebook, where we’ll be able to advance our work at an incredible scale, reaching people from across the globe.
This addition of an AI face recognition interface for social media pushes gesture control and hybrid human/AI systems forward. Voice recognition and face recognition are essential building blocks, and also fold nicely into its VR interest from the Oculus acquisition.
For companies considering the implications of AI, this also points to the importance of gaming and entertainment in driving new technologies, as well as to the need to examine those areas of existing operations that can benefit from new approaches based on AI and cognitive approaches.
For Facebook, this aids in competition with mobile graphics messaging competitor SnapChat initially, but could also make it much easier and quicker to respond to social media conversations from anywhere. Other companies might also consider the power of linking voice recognition with face-based emotion sensing as a means of enriching communications.