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C onversational AI, AR Ads and Visual Search

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Nick Cotton May 19, 2017

Here’s the news we’re talking about around the Zbra Studios water cooler. We’ve provided key bullet points from each article for the speed readers out there. For those looking to dig in, click on the links for the full story.

Facebook’s new research tool is designed to create a truly conversational AI
by James Vincent From The Verge
  • “The tool is called ParlAI (pronounced like Captain Jack Sparrow asking to parley) and is described by the social media network as a “one-stop shop for dialog research.” It gives AI programmers a simple framework for training and testing chatbots, complete with access to datasets of sample dialogue, and a “seamless” pipeline to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service.”
  • ““What we’re after with ParlAI, is more about having a machine where you can have multi-turn dialogue; where you can build up a dialogue and exchange ideas,” says Bordes. “ParlAI is trying to develop the capacity for chatbots to enter long-term conversation.” This, he says, will require memory on the bot’s part, as well as a good deal of external knowledge (provided via access to datasets like Wikipedia), and perhaps even an idea of how the user is feeling”
  • “Facebook, says that progress is already happening and that users will see “continuous improvement” to chatbots of all stripes. He gives the example of systems that are capable of digesting large datasets — like Wikipedia or scientific journals — and answering questions on them.”
Snap’s new AR ads are for overlaying objects onto stuff that isn’t your face
By KURT WAGNER From Recode
  • “It’s similar to the face-distorting filter ads that Snapchat sells, like when Taco Bell paid so that users could turn their faces into tacos. These new ads, called “Sponsored World Lenses,” are not specific to taking selfies and work with the phone’s outward-facing camera.”
  • “Snap argued last week on its first earnings call that the company is going to succeed through creativity and quality products, not massive scale. Launching new ad formats that marketers can’t find on other networks like Facebook or Twitter falls into that quality argument.”
Pinterest’s visual search technology is coming to its ads
By Matthew Lynley From TechCrunch
  • Now the company is starting to roll out the same image recognition that it uses to power its visual search and recommendations — the same tools that will know to show you a cool stool based on that office chair you saw and liked — to its base of advertising content. That means that instead of displaying just on keywords and other kinds of traditional tagging, advertisers will get the benefit of their ad showing up next to a product that is related to the ad based on its core visual search technology.”
  • “The ads for now will show up in the home Pinterest feed through Instant Ideas, a small circle at the bottom of a pin that jumps straight to related pins.”
  • “So while this may seem like a small tweak, it’s actually one of the first times that Pinterest is really flexing its Pinterest-iness against its advertising products.”

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