Facebook Follows Apple Google AI Chips

Facebook has undergone a lot of controversy and criticism in recent days owing to incidents including data breach by Cambridge Analytica, fake news, and lack of addition of value through its platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently answered questions in a public hearing about scandals and preventive measures it will take to prevent those in future. Though Zuckerberg apologized for the role company played in data leaks and privacy policies, the long-term solutions need to be developed. To tackle issues of privacy policy, data breach, and fake news, it is impossible for human moderators and reviewers to check each post, image, and video. Deploying technology to tackle these issues is of utmost importance for the social media giant. It seems the firm is taking necessary steps toward deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle many serious issues.

The California-based social media firm is following the trend of other tech giants such as Apple and Google to develop its own AI chips. Based on a job posting on Facebook’s corporate website, Bloomberg reported that the firm is looking forward to hiring a manager to develop an “end-to-end SoC/ASIC, firmware, and driver development organization.” The team will build its semiconductor chips and reduce dependence on chip manufacturers such as Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. Facebook has not commented on the matter. However, this effort will be a major step toward powering its devices and algorithms to tackle many issues with its own chips. In 2010, Apple began developing its own chips and using for various products. Google has built its own AI chip as well.

Facebook could use newly-developed AI chips for supply power to AI software, hardware devices, and data centers. Having its very own AI-powered chip would be beneficial for the firm to reduce dependence upon other leading chipmakers. The company uses Qualcomm’s processor in its Oculus Go, a virtual-reality headset to be launched in the next month. It is also developing smart speakers. The future generation of devices will be powered by custom AI chipsets. In addition, the company will have more control over the development of products and able to fine tune software and hardware.

Facebook mentioned the development of SoC and ASIC chip in its job posting. SoC (System on Chip) is a type of semiconductor which is used for space and power-saving properties. Crucial functions of smartphones are powered by SoC chips. ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) is a chip used for development of specific applications. It helps in running specific applications faster and efficiently. However, the job posting does not outline where Facebook intents to deploy those chips. A job listing indicates “expertise to build custom solutions targeted at multiple verticals including AI/ML,” which shows that the chip would focus on the development of a processor for AI tasks.

It is evident that AI will be used in its future generation of products and tackling issues such as fake news, hate speech, and data breach. Many people have questioned the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg in running Facebook, however, he asserted that he is the right man for the job. Taking this step would help him tackling some of the problems that have ruined the reputation of the social media platform. It is interesting to see how its own chips will work and what role it will play in future.