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VentureBeat

Facebook’s open source M2M-100 model can translate between 100 different languages

Facebook today open-sourced M2M-100, an algorithm it claims is the first capable of translating between any pair of 100 languages without relying on English data. The machine learning model, which was trained on 2,200 language pairs, ostensibly outperforms English-centric systems on a metric commonly used to evaluate machine translation performance. The goal of multilingual machine translation is to build a model that can translate between any pair of the world’s over 7,000 languages. Multilingual translation models share information between similar languages, which benefits low-resource language pairs and allows for zero-shot translation, or translation to languages the model hasn’t seen before. As models increase in size, they require larger datasets that can be laborious and difficult to create, which has led some researchers to focus on English datasets and modeling techniques. (For instance, supporting 100 languages would require 100 billion sentence pairs.) But this bias in the data and modeling is not reflective of how people use translation and leads to worse performance for non-English translations. By contrast, Facebook’s M2M-100 was trained on a dataset of over 7.5 billion sentences across 100 different languages. To build it, Facebook researchers decided upon three criteria to guide their language selection. They sought to include languages from different families with geographic diversity and which were widely spoken. They then narrowed the list down to those for which evaluation data exists so it’d be easier to quantify the model’s performance. Finally, of the remaining languages, they eliminated those for which monolingual data wasn’t available. M2M-100…Continue readingFacebook’s open source M2M-100 model can translate between 100 different languages

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Engadget

Facebook’s $299 Oculus Quest 2 VR headset is now available

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to dive into virtual reality, it may have arrived. Devindra Hardawar called the Oculus Quest 2 “The $299 VR headset to rule them all” in his review and it’s easy to see why. The headset is lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, and ready to work either as a standalone device or as a peripheral to run experiences that demand a powerful PC. If you pre-ordered, then it should be well on its way, otherwise they’re available via Oculus or on Amazon. Aside from existing VR content, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Rez Infinite and a multiplayer update for Beat Saber are now available as well, so there’s plenty of things left to try. The new headset has fast-switching LCDs with a resolution of 1832 by 1920 — 50 percent more pixels than before — and while it’s limited to 72Hz refresh rates now, 90Hz support is coming in a software update. Source linkContinue readingFacebook’s $299 Oculus Quest 2 VR headset is now available

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Mashable

Study reveals the simple way people get around Facebook’s fact-checking AI

Recently, Facebook has been taking a harder stance on misinformation. The company banned content related to the conspiracy theory and cracked down on coronavirus . But it’s still not enough.  According to a recent by the non-profit advocacy group Avaaz, Facebook is failing in a major, basic way. Facebook Pages that spread misinformation are finding their way around one of the platform’s most important tools for fighting fake news: its AI system. When Facebook’s fact-checkers debunk a claim in a post, its AI is supposed to flag and label alternative versions of the post spreading the same misinformation. But the study says Pages are getting around these fact-checks.  How? By slightly tweaking the photos and memes used to spread misinformation. Avaaz’s researchers looked into 119 “repeat misinformers” – pages that have spread misinformation a minimum of three times – to understand how these pages get around Facebook’s AI detection.  Turns out, all they have to do is change the background color or font on the photo or meme they’re sharing. They can also change up the location of the text on the meme or try cropping it.  Below is an example from the study showing two pieces of content spreading the same fact-checked claims. The image on the left just needed to change the format and text placement of the image on the right to avoid the fact-check label from Facebook. A fact-checked meme could easily avoid a Facebook warning label by just tweaking some attributes. Another workaround is to…Continue readingStudy reveals the simple way people get around Facebook’s fact-checking AI

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VentureBeat

Facebook’s AI matches people in need with those willing to assist

Facebook says it has deployed a feature in its Community Help hub to make it easier for users to assist each other during the pandemic. As of this week, AI will detect when a public post on News Feed is about needing or offering help and will surface a suggestion to share it on Community Help. Once a post is moved or published directly to the hub, an algorithm will recommend matches between people. For example, if someone posts an offer to deliver groceries, they’ll see recommendations within Community Help to connect with people who recently posted about needing this type of assistance. Similarly, if someone requests masks, AI will surface suggested neighbors who recently posted an offer to make face coverings. Building this Community Help feature, which Facebook says is available in all countries in English and 17 other languages, involved a difficult engineering challenge because the system needs to make recommendations even when semantic structures in posts are very different. (For example, consider “Does anyone have masks for kids?” and “We can donate face coverings of any size.”) The feature also needs to go beyond existing candidate-matching logic to incorporate general statements like “I can lend a hand to anyone!” Facebook says it built and deployed the matching algorithm using XLM-R, its natural language understanding model that produces a score ranking how closely a request for help matches offers in a community. XLM-R, which has 550 million parameters (variables internal to the model that fine-tune its predictions), was…Continue readingFacebook’s AI matches people in need with those willing to assist

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The Next Web

Facebook’s VR isn’t about gaming, it’s about data — surprise, surprise

Facebook has announced the latest version of its successful standalone virtual reality (VR) headset, the Oculus Quest 2. The new device packs more computing power and a sharper screen than its predecessor, and is also US$100 cheaper. In the video above, Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 (from AUD$479) — a powerful wireless VR headset for gaming and, Facebook hopes, much more. The Oculus Quest 2 is the latest step in Facebook’s long-term strategy of making VR more accessible and popular. Facebook recently brought all its VR work under the umbrella of Facebook Reality Labs, it has announced new applications like the Infinite Office VR workplace, and will also require a Facebook login for future Oculus devices. The compulsory link to Facebook has many consumers concerned, considering the social media giant’s chequered history with privacy and data. VR and its cousin, augmented reality (AR), are perhaps the most data-extractive digital sensors we’re likely to invite into our homes in the next decade. [Read: Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked] Why does Facebook make virtual reality headsets? Facebook acquired VR company Oculus in 2014 for an estimated US$2.3 billion. But where Oculus originally aimed at gamers, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wants VR for social media. At the same event last year, Zuckerberg said Facebook sees VR as a pathway to a new kind of “social computing platform” using the enhanced feeling of “presence” that VR affords. For Facebook, the introduction of VR-based computing will be like the leap from…Continue readingFacebook’s VR isn’t about gaming, it’s about data — surprise, surprise

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VentureBeat

Facebook’s Oversight Board to launch in October — but not for election cases

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s long-delayed independent Oversight Board plans to launch in mid-late October, just before the November U.S. presidential election, but a Facebook spokeswoman said on Thursday it was unlikely that the board would handle election-related cases. The board, created by Facebook in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, will initially have the power to review decisions to take down posts from Facebook and Instagram, and recommend policy changes. Oversight Board member Alan Rusbridger told Reuters in an interview this week the board was now aiming for an October launch. A board spokesman said that the late launch, originally planned for last year, had been further slowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Potential cases would come to the board from users who have exhausted the appeals process, or be sent over from Facebook. Deciding and implementing rulings would take up to 90 days, although Facebook could ask for them to be expedited within 30 days. The Facebook spokeswoman said it was unlikely that cases related to the election would get through the process given that time frame. Rusbridger also told Reuters that cases involving President Donald Trump’s posts were not among those that the board had looked at in trial runs. “We haven’t done a Trump case,” said Rusbridger, a former editor-in-chief of Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “We have done a nudity case, we’ve done a blasphemy case.” Facebook faced employee backlash in recent months over its decision to take no action over posts from Trump containing misleading…Continue readingFacebook’s Oversight Board to launch in October — but not for election cases

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VentureBeat

John Carmack says he’s ‘kind of embarrassed’ over Facebook’s social VR during pandemic

Facebook Reality Labs consulting CTO John Carmack says he’s “kind of embarrassed” about Facebook’s social VR offerings on Oculus headsets over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In his talk at Facebook Connect on Wednesday, Carmack touched on the problems Facebook had experienced keeping the Oculus Quest headset in stock this year, even before the pandemic began. But going a step further, he also expressed disappointment at the company’s lack of social apps that could have helped friends and family meet in VR while they couldn’t see each other in real life. “But worse, all of our social experiences were basically killed or deprecated,” Carmack began. “We had Rooms, Spaces, co-watching, and all those are gone. Venues has been in maintenance mode for this entire time. So we made this huge bet on Horizon, and we’ve had all these people working on it, and you’re seeing some of the fruits of that finally with the Venues 2.0 now. “But basically, we weren’t ready.” As Carmack alluded to, Facebook’s previous social VR efforts like Oculus Rooms, which let users meet up to watch TV and play board games; or Spaces, an app that saw Facebook friends meet up to hang out, are gone. Facebook Horizon was revealed at last year’s Oculus Connect with a promise of a spring 2020 beta, but it is only now just rolling out to a limited number of users. “We had all this effort going into it,” Carmack continued. “We had let the previous products more or…Continue readingJohn Carmack says he’s ‘kind of embarrassed’ over Facebook’s social VR during pandemic

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VentureBeat

Can Oculus Quest 2 overcome Facebook’s tarnished reputation?

Calling myself “deeply conflicted” about Facebook’s upcoming standalone VR headset Oculus Quest 2 would be an understatement. My long but not perfect memory can’t recall any device this compelling from such a seriously troubled company — one that’s hoping to win new customers even as employees keep jumping ship over crises of conscience. That polarized situation from a polarizing company makes the Quest 2 launch one of 2020’s biggest tech tragedies, despite the fact that I would normally be first in line to want one. Facebook’s corporate transgressions have been hard to ignore for years. Whether you believe it actively participated in historically massive misinformation, disinformation, and polarization campaigns, or was just a well-paid enabler that was all too willing to look the other way as bad things happened, the social media giant has been investigated, sued, and found guilty, at least in the court of public opinion. Despite Facebook’s promise to “bring the world closer together,” my own friend and family lists have been shattered by the insanity Facebook’s algorithms and business practices unleashed, so I’m proud — not happy — to have shut down my Facebook account and walked away from that network. On the other hand, there’s Oculus. Facebook acquired Oculus when its first product, the Rift VR headset, was still under development, and gave the startup access to cash, engineering, and manufacturing scale that unquestionably improved its prospects. Yes, some of that cash indirectly funded one Oculus founder’s “jail Clinton” campaign during the 2016 election season, provoking public outcry, but the…Continue readingCan Oculus Quest 2 overcome Facebook’s tarnished reputation?

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Engadget

How to watch Facebook’s Connect keynote today

Facebook’s annual AR/VR conference kicks off at 1PM ET today. You may know the event as Oculus Connect, but this year, the company rebranded it Facebook Connect to “better reflect its broader scope.”  This summer, the next Oculus headset, the Quest 2 VR, leaked, and rumors circulated that it would arrive in September. So, there’s a good chance we’ll learn more about that hardware today. A new VR headset means we’ll likely get to see new VR games and experiences, too. Judging by the name change, we’ll also get some non-Oculus updates. Source linkContinue readingHow to watch Facebook’s Connect keynote today

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The Verge

Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 leaks in full via official promo videos

The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset has leaked in full via a pair of promotional videos uploaded to a marketing hub run by parent company Facebook, The videos outline the specs of the standalone headset, which is a successor to 2019’s Oculus Quest. Also listed on the site is a pair of live demos of the headset, scheduled for September 16th and 17th. That lines up neatly with a previously-rumored launch date for the Quest 2 of September 15th. According to the videos, the new headset is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform, which is specifically designed for AR and VR hardware (unlike the general purpose Snapdragon 835 that powered the original Quest). One video boasts that the Quest 2 has an “almost 4K display,” which it says translates to “nearly 2K per eye,” which a second video says is 50 percent more pixels than the original Quest. The headset also has 6GB of RAM (up from 4GB) and up to 256GB of storage (up from a maximum of 128GB), as well as 3D positional audio, and the return of controller-free hand tracking. Although the videos provide plenty of new details about the Oculus Quest 2, there are a couple of lingering questions. It’s not clear, for a start, what the display’s refresh rate will be, which previous reports indicated could increase from 72Hz to 90Hz or even 120Hz to display smoother motion. There’s also no mention of the headset’s size or weight. Previous reports suggested that the Quest 2…Continue readingFacebook’s Oculus Quest 2 leaks in full via official promo videos