14 August 2017
Facebook has bought artificial intelligence (AI) based start-up Ozlo to work on Messenger's personal assistant technology. The company hasn't shared any details of the finances involved in the takeover.
Ozlo is a Palo Alto based startup that has a suite of AI APIs which it offers as services to developers. The company's knowledge graph is said to be very instrumental in developing AI technology and fine tuning the performance of these AIs. Ozlo is considered an expert at text-based AI conversations. The acquisition of Ozlo is supposed to stop the sale of this knowledge layer along with a few APIs of the company. These APIs will solely be used to develop the personal assistant technology of Facebook's Messenger.
Most of the 30-member work force of Ozlo is supposed to be retained to work at Facebook. Exactly what they will be doing after the acquisition is still unknown but it is obviously related to working with Messenger's text-based AI. The Messenger team has been working on AI-assistance based on the conversation that the people are having on Messenger like ordering a cab for them or booking movie tickets etc. There is also a strong possibility that the Ozlo team will also be put to work in the development of Facebook M, Facebook's AI assistant.
Speaking about the acquisition, a Facebook spokesperson said,
1.2 billion people around the world use Messenger to connect with the people and businesses they care about. We’re excited to welcome the Ozlo team as we build compelling experiences within Messenger that are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
This news comes just days after Facebook faced global embarrassment when it had to shut down its AI after it created its own language. This was a major blow to Facebook-founder, Mark Zuckerberg as Elon Musk had said that the former's knowledge of AIs was "limited" after Zuckerberg had indirectly rubbished Elon Musk's views about AIs being a threat.