Facebook aiming to educate with instructional AI videos

by L&D06 Dec 2016
Facebook has launched a series of videos that attempt to demystify and explain how artificial intelligence (AI) works.
According to a blog post authored by Facebook AI researchers Yann LeCun and Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, the series of six educational videos aims to counter misconceptions regarding AI, which "remains mysterious" for many despite the fact most people rely on AI every day.
"We want to tell people it's not magic," said LeCun, Facebook's director of AI research. "This is not Terminator. It's real technology that's useful."
"I think the more open we can be about it and the more we can demystify and explain how it actually works, the more quickly we can address concerns," added Candela.
The videos come shortly after Facebook was widely criticised for distributing false news stories during the 2016 American presidential election, with the social network's algorithms shouldering some of the blame.
In the blog post, LeCun and Candela wrote, "AI is a rigorous science focused on designing intelligent systems and machines, using algorithmic techniques borrowed from the human brain."
Among the results of this is AI's ability to learn from the past and discern patterns. One video deals with how a computer can figure out if an image is of a car or a dog: it needs a learning algorithm made up of millions of samples in order to have 'generalisation ability' to apply what was learned from the samples to new material. Another video explains how a computer can detect certain features in an image no matter where they are located in the frame.
"AI is going to affect our lives and it’s going to affect technology and it’s very important to have some idea of how it works and what it can do," LeCun said.
The six videos are categorised as: Introduction to AI, Machine Learning, Gradient Descent, Deep Learning, Back Propagation and Convolutional Neural Nets.
LeCun and Candela's blog post also offered advice on how to prepare for a future workplace where AI is more prevalent, suggesting studying maths and physics and ultimately, PhD study.