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Facebook's DeepText could open doors to much smarter global AI

A new "text understanding engine" promises to learn 20 languages and comprehend content with "near human accuracy." With Facebook's massive global market, languages could be key.

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You put a picture up on Facebook. You write a quick caption, a little joke about parking at the football game. Then Facebook suggests something to help. A different parking lot nearby? A friend who likes football? This is what Facebook does, but the artificial intelligence and bot-based understanding could take another leap soon with DeepText.

Facebook has unveiled DeepText, a deep-learning "text understanding engine" that can understand the content of several thousand posts per second in up to 20 languages. In a detailed post Wednesday, Facebook explained that the purpose of DeepText is to more intelligently and contextually figure out what is being said in any post at any time. The goal is better understanding of what's being said, but globally.

"The community on Facebook is truly global, so it's important for DeepText to understand as many languages as possible," Facebook said in its post. With 1.65 billion users, 84 percent of whom are outside the US and Canada, language comprehension might be the biggest reason for DeepText to exist.

This year's been all about bots and AI. Google and Microsoft both want to build better AI-based assistants. Facebook does, too. DeepText could be another step.