Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) researchers have announced an eye-opening discovery — no seriously. And literally. The most recent news out of Zuckerberg’s social media giant is that Generative Adversarial Network, a machine-learning system, can take a photo during which someone blinked and replace their closed eyes with open ones.
Yes, you heard that right. While other tools in the tech world have successfully fixed red eye, for example, opening closed eyes wasn’t often done well. They could recognize and imitate eyes, but stitching them into someone’s face seamlessly? A bit tougher.
“What Facebook’s researchers did was to include ‘exemplar’ data showing the target person with their eyes open, from which the GAN learns not just what eyes should go on the person, but how the eyes of this particular person are shaped, colored, and so on. The results are quite realistic: there’s no color mismatch or obvious stitching because the recognition part of the network knows that that’s not how the person looks.”
Artificial intelligence advances are an interesting conundrum in the world of tech. On the one hand, to be cliche and oversimplify, AI is the future! It’s great for investors that Facebook continues to show it can innovate to that end. And this feature relates to photos, something that’s core to its business model and user base.
On the other hand, artificial intelligence is increasingly criticized, and more sophisticated technology means more risk. This year, for example, there was a reddit scandal over AI technology that inserted celebrities into porn using just photographs. At the same time, the misuse of Facebook technology is top of mind as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, too.
Bottom Line on Facebook AI and FB Stock
And yet, despite the “scandal,” calls to delete Facebook tend to be short-lived. In fact, throughout Facebook’s history, privacy scandals have correlated little with revenue growth. Over the last 12 months, Facebook stock has still managed to outperform and is sitting 31% higher than it was a year ago.
So for now, the eye-opening Facebook AI news is, if anything, good news for Facebook stock. Facebook AI is not going to have an immediate or tangible impact on earnings this quarter or the next, of course. But the company needs to use its incumbent status to continue moving the ball forward, especially in the crowded and fickle world of social media.
This impressive machine-learning feat suggests Facebook is doing just that.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.