Artist Heather Day's AR art installation on Facebook's campus. Alexis Madrigal

New “AI Camera” Team to Focus on Building AR, Other Functionality Into Apps

Facebook’s new AI Camera team is unifying the formerly separate camera teams from the company’s separate areas –including Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram– in order to integrate AI, AR, and other mobile camera tech in what The Atlantic calls “the most important technological advances of the past decade”. More from The Atlantic:

With 2 billion users, Facebook has reorganized the teams responsible for coding the camera software in Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger into a new unit it calls “AI Camera.” The group started last year with a single person. Now, it has grown to 60 people. That includes Rick Szeliski and Michael Cohen who worked on Photosynth (among other things) at Microsoft. The AI Camera team also can draw on the expertise of top neural-network researchers like Yann LeCun and Yangqing Jia in other parts of the company.

The AI Camera team is responsible for giving the cameras inside these apps an understanding of what you’re pointing them at. In the near future, your camera will understand its location, recognize the people in the frame, and be able to seamlessly augment the reality you see.

AI Camera combines many of the most important technological developments of the last several decades: neural networks, robotics, camera systems, and social-network data. This underlying basket of technologies—more adjacent to each other than in “a stack,” as software developers might conceive it—are converging into the smartphone’s ability to take and display pictures.

Perhaps that seems absurd. But the human desire to capture, understand, and share images of the physical world has proven to be nearly insatiable, which is why this is the one domain where Facebook, Apple, Google, Samsung, Snapchat, and Microsoft directly compete.

Read More: Facebook’s AI Camera Team Is Reinventing the Phone – The Atlantic