Facebook’s chief of artificial intelligence, Yan LeCun, previously worked on advanced surveillance systems, according to a report by The Sun.
“LeCun, the Facebook tech guru, was one of four authors of a study aimed at teaching computers how to identify people as they walked down a street, a technique known as pedestrian detection,” wrote reporter Jasper Hamill. “This technique is useful in surveillance and security because it allows computers to quickly analyse CCTV footage and work out if it can see a human or not.”
“LeCun also worked on a study exploring facial recognition, an area of technology focused on allowing computers to detect people’s face. Sophisticated version of this tech can reliably work out someone’s identity,” he continued. Hamill quoted a segment of LeCun’s study, which claimed, “The detection of human faces in natural images and videos is a key component in a wide variety of applications of human-computer interaction… security, and surveillance.”
Hamill points out that Facebook has access to millions of personal photographs of its users, drawing a potentially frightening parallel between LeCunn’s previous profession in surveillance and his current job at Facebook.
“We’re committed to advancing the field of machine intelligence and developing technologies that give people better ways to communicate. In the long term, we seek to understand intelligence and make intelligent machines,” states Facebook on their official AI research team page.
“Research at the lab covers the full spectrum of topics related to AI, and to deriving knowledge from data: theory, algorithms, applications, software infrastructure and hardware infrastructure,” it continues. “Our long-term objectives of understanding intelligence and building intelligent machines are bold and ambitious.”
In a quote from LeCunn on Facebook’s AI research team page, he claims the social network “is simply the most exciting place to be,” adding that it has “incredible infrastructure, rich data and top talent.”