Facebook's text understanding AI is coming to a phone near you

From PC World: Developers have a new tool to help mobile apps understand text, thanks to a Facebook open source project update on Tuesday. The social networking company’s AI research group released a new version of FastText, a programming library that’s designed to make it easier for developers to deploy text-focused machine learning systems.

Using a technique the researchers are calling FastText.zip, developers can compact a language recognition model so that it takes up two orders of magnitude less memory while maintaining much of the accuracy they would get out of a non-compacted model. It’s a move that allows those models to be deployed on less powerful devices like smartphones and Raspberry Pis, making them more useful for a broader variety of applications.

In addition, Facebook released a pair of tutorials designed to help developers get started using FastText. The team also released a set of almost 300 pre-trained language sets to simplify matters further.

The goal behind FastText is to make it easier for people with a light background in programming to do text classification, (the process of assigning a block of words into a set of categories) and text representation (the process of turning unstructured text into numbers for computation).

“That was the idea behind the library — to make it a very accessible library for any text-related machine learning problems,” Facebook Research Scientist Armand Joulin said.

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