Facebook Inc. enters the club of tech companies developing their own artificial intelligence (AI) chip. The social network giant hired Shahriar Rabii as its Vice President and Head of Silicon this month, reports Bloomberg. He will probably report to Andrew Bosworth, the company’s Head of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.
Facebook now follows the footprint of the Silicon Valley suite building own chips. The tech cluster comprises of iPhone maker Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, pioneer of Prime culture, Amazon.com Inc. and Chinese internet giant, Baidu Inc.
Facebook HiresEx-Google Silicon Employee
Rabii was previously working as Senior Director of Engineering at Google. His journey at the company began in 2011 as Director of Engineering, being responsible for launching several silicon development programs.
During his tenure at the search titan, Rabbi, in fact, founded Google’s Consumer Silicon team known as gChips. Under his reign, the company released many products such as Pixel Visual Core chip, computational photography, Titan family of secure elements, VP9 and more.
Facebook Interests in In-houseAI Chip
Earlier reported in April this year, Facebook seeks to be less dependent on outsider semi-conductor organizations such as Intel, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA to power its systems, data centers and devices.
In October 2017, Facebook collaborated with Intel to build an AI chip wherein the former company’s role is to provide technical insights throughout the project. However, with Facebook’s present development, the fate of this association seems to be in a questionable zone.
Keeping artificial intelligence at the core, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is working on integrating the future of technology across several departments. To begin with, the company needs to “clean up” its social media platforms containing anti-social activities on the priority basis. Ranging from “hate speeches”, “fake news”,“propaganda articles”, “bogus accounts” and “violent videos” to “privacy breach” and “data leakage”, Facebook now tops in negative publicity.
Though it is making continuous efforts to improve in this direction by employing skilled human moderators and using GPU’s from companies like NVIDIA, the anti-social activities on online platforms are extremely widespread. Here a custom-made AI chip will power Facebook to patrol the ever-growing online content at a faster rate.
Secondly, Facebook is working on multiple future devices in its Oculus Virtual Reality department and Building 8 hardware division. It earlier launched an Oculus Go standalone virtual reality headset powered by a Qualcomm chip.
Similarly, Facebook is also reportedly developing its first branded series of hardware, that is, an Echo-like AI smart speakers with large touchscreens, cites Bloomberg. Facebook in-house AI chip will enable the company to sync the hardware and software in line with deliverables.
Trend of Seeking Independence in Tech Companies
Besides Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Baidu have already embarked towards making their own hardware technologies.
Baidu recently unveiled China’s first AI chip for edge and cloud computing, Kunlun in Beijing. Google has been manufacturing own chips and intends to install them in futurePixel phones. Apple also announced to replace the Intel-powered Mac line-up with its own-built processors by 2020. It has already integrated iOS devices with custom-made chips. Likewise, Amazon said to develop an AI chip to enhance the capabilities of AI-enabled Alexa devices.