Facebook AI research: European robot lab opened in Paris to explore artificial intelligence

Lynsey Barber
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Facebook's robot research comes to Europe (Source: Getty)

Facebook has expanded its exploration of robot technology with the opening of a new European research centre.

The Facebook AI research centre in Paris will be its third, building on existing teams in Silicon Valley and New York, and its first in Europe, looking into the application of artificial intelligence technology.

"...[the] team will work on ambitious long-term research projects in image recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition, and the kinds of physical and logical infrastructure required to run these AI systems. It’s our hope that this research will ultimately help us make services like News Feed, photos and search even better and enable an entirely new set of ways to connect and share," the company said in an update.

While London's tech sector is one of the strongest in Europe, it may come as a bit of a blow to the capital to find the tech giant turning elsewhere to locate the new research team. Why Paris, exactly?

We chose Paris for this expansion because France is home to some of the best researchers in the world. We think the FAIR Paris team will bring valuable expertise and new perspectives to our work, and we plan to work openly with and invest in the AI research community in France, the EU, and beyond as we strive to make meaningful progress in these fields. We have a collaborative agreement in place with INRIA, a leading research institute in Paris which opens up new joint study opportunities for talented research professionals, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers. We believe this open model ultimately spurs more innovation, encourages collaboration and mutual review, and helps us all move faster.

Facebook's AI research (FAIR) team has been up and running for "little over a year" and is headed up by the former New York University professor Yann LeCun, one of AI's most preeminent researchers.

It's still early days when it comes to Facebook's robot research - and the field of AI as a whole - but it's already made some of its research open to everyone to move things forward.

One of the biggest leaps forward in AI research was made by the London-founded and now Google-owned Deep Mind. The secretive company was able to get a computer to teach itself how to play classic Atari computer games such as Pac Man with no help whatsoever from humans. (Find out more)

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