Why is Facebook keen on robots? It's just the future of AI

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook is announcing several academic hires in artificial intelligence, including Carnegie Mellon researcher Jessica Hodgins, who's known for her work making animated figures move in more human-like ways.

The hires raise a big question — why is Facebook interested in robots?

The answer is central to the problem of how AI systems work today.

Today, most successful AI systems require millions of points of human-labeled data, like photos of cats, to train themselves to recognize faces and objects like people do. Or they have to play games tens of thousands of times, like Google's AlphaGo Zero did.

Yann LeCun (luh-COON), Facebook's chief AI scientist, says some of the best ideas for getting AI systems to learn faster and with less data are coming from the field of robotics.

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