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With Facebook, artificial intelligence goes mainstream

Artificial intelligence technology is clearly moving into the mainstream in terms of supporting basic business processes, helping to fuel a new level of data analytics for enterprises.

Consider social media giant Facebook. AI has become core to most things the site does now, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. An AI master algorithm is powering the company’s News Feed that determines what its two billion users see online.

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A woman checks the Facebook Inc. site on her smartphone whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing the Facebook Inc. logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. Facebook Inc.s WhatsApp messaging service, with more than 100 million local users, is the most-used app in Brazil, according to an Ibope poll published on Dec. 15. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Every time one of Facebook’s users opens the Facebook app, a personalization algorithm sorts through all the posts the user could theoretically see, the article said, and presents the content it thinks the user would like to see first. The system weighs hundreds of frequently updated signals, and without AI many of these signals would be impossible to analyze, it said.

An example of updated signals is Facebook’s recent battle against clickbait. A team analyzed hundreds of thousands of posts in 10 languages, the article said, flagging offending headlines that either withheld information or exaggerated. The resulting system autonomously scans links, suppressing the ones that match what it learned from the human-generated data.

Facebook’s master algorithm can also extract additional meaning from posts and photos, according to the article.

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