Brocker.Org: Twitter and Mark Cuban: Where’s the AI?

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Twitter’s (TWTR) investment in computers that function like a human brain is paying off, in more ways than one. Aside from helping to draw people back to the social media website, the company’s growing status in artificial intelligence (AI) is also attracting attention from high profile investors.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Alley, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban confirmed that he has recently been buying Twitter stock, as well as shares in other big names that work in AI, deep learning and machine learning, such as Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX). In the interview, which sent the company’s embattled shares up 4 per cent, Cuban claimed that firms specializing in AI are likely to experience better productivity and higher revenues off a smaller workforce, which should subsequently boost earnings.

Cuban’s encouraging comments came after the social media giant credited better than expected quarterly earnings to machine learning techniques. In a letter to shareholders, the company said recent improvements in how it uses algorithms had “increased engagement and brought people back to Twitter.” (See also: Is Twitter Poised for a Turnaround?)

Twitter has been using AI to tailor ads and tweets to users. In a letter sent to shareholders in February, CEO Jack Dorsey said: Machine learning is critical for us to better identify and personalize content that people want to see and deliver it to them, faster.”

AI is also being used by the social media company to prevent abusive behavior. In March, Twitter joined forces with IBM (IBM) to improve its efforts to police controversial hate speech. IBM’s Watson AI technology, which is capable of monitoring various forms of text, is expected to make it easier for Twitter to stop nasty tweets and block repeated offenders.

Twitter started making inroads in AI after acquiring image-reading technology specialist Magic Pony Technology last summer. (See also: Twitter Acquires Magic Pony.)

Twitter still lags other firms that have poured capital into AI, like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB). Facebook’s in-house DeepText program can read thousands of posts in multiple different languages in just seconds, while Google pledged to invest millions more in its DeepMind AI program after it beat legendary South Korean Go player Lee Sedol in an exhibition match in Seoul.

Inc.com‘s John Brandon questioned Cuban’s logic since we haven’t seen anything new or exciting from Twitter on the AI front in a while. “What AI? The one that still lets trolls do whatever they want?” he wrote.

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