Mark Zuckerberg expects artificial intelligence will progress to make computers better than humans at basic sensory perception within the next 10 years, and that Facebook will end up knowing a lot more about you than it does now.
The prediction is the latest from a top tech CEO to indicate the fast improvement being made in machine learning systems that just a few years ago would have struggled to recognize a dog from a cat.
The Facebook CEO was speaking about core things that humans do, such as seeing, hearing and understanding language and was careful to clarify that computers will still have limited abilities elsewhere.
"That doesn't mean that the computers will be thinking or be generally better, but that is useful for a number of things," he told financial analysts on a conference call on Wednesday.
In recent months, senior executives at Google have also talked up AI. Last month, Eric Schmidt predicted computers would be able to do some things "better than humans" and this month Google CEO Sundar Pichai said AI would enable a new breed of bots.
Facebook is investing a lot of effort in artificial intelligence as it tries to build out smarter -- some might say creepier -- functions into its service. One of the most visible at present is a face recognition system that often figures out the identity of people in uploaded photos.
Zuckerberg said Facebook also uses artificial intelligence algorithms in its spam filtering, but the company has broader plans.
For one, it intends to look more deeply into what each user is posting, sharing and consuming to give them a more personalized newsfeed.
"We don't actually look at the photo and deeply understand what's in it or look at the videos and understand what's in it or read the links that people share and understand what's in them, but in the future we'll be able to, I think in a five or 10-year period," he said.
The result will be a Facebook that is ever more personalized for its users, but knows even more about them -- even things that they didn't share with Facebook through tagging, friending or other actions.
"So all of these millions and millions of pieces content that are out there, whether or not you've added someone as a friend or have liked a page, we'll be able to know a lot better what types of things are going to be interesting to you to produce a much better feed of content," he said.
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