An internal company-wide meeting at Facebook revealed some disturbing statements and projects from the social network this week. In addition to tone-deaf language, a Facebook product manager revealed a tool called “TL;DR” currently in development. It’s been suggested that this AI tool will summarize long form articles “and spit out bullet points so people don’t have to read the full piece.”
Reading your articles for you
Information about this meeting comes via Ryan Mac, senior tech reporter for BuzzFeed News. Per his relay of the meeting, the TL;DR tool will decide which parts of articles are most important via artificial intelligence. This tool will also (apparently) work with voice assistant systems to parse articles and offer answers to contextual questions.
In other words, Facebook’s computers will decide which bits of what articles are most important for you to read. While Twitter attempts to push people to actually READ the articles they share, Facebook’s aiming to shorten the reading to the bare minimum.
Facebook compared to COVID vaccine
“We all get the privilege of seeing the future, because we are making it,” said Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer. “We have to build responsibly to earn trust and the right to continue to grow. It’s imperative that we get this right so that people around the world get all these amazing technologies… without experiencing the downsides.”
In speaking about the future of tech innovation, Schroepfer commended the creation of the COVID vaccine “and compared that tech advancement to what FB has done to improve messaging.” He transitioned from speaking about COVID vaccines to Facebook messaging by saying “but technological advancement goes beyond just vaccines!”
FaceGen on your face
Facebook also revealed a piece of tech called FaceGen that’ll be promoted as an aide for video chatting with bad internet connectivity. The FaceGen system “basically allows FB to mimic the movements of your face.”
“Let’s face it we play a major role in almost every geopolitical and societal issue,” said Facebook VP Carolyn Everson. “We reach over 3 billion people. With this comes enormous responsibility. We need third parties who can validate what we say we do is actually what we do.”
Schroepfer also spoke about a new neural sensor device that Facebook is developing. This sensor take “neural signals coming from my brain, down my spinal cord along my arm, to my wrist, where this sensor that we are building detects them, interprets them, and allows me to control [the] device.”
The Facebook executive suggested that this neural sensor could be used in devices for typing, or holding a virtual objects, or “telling a dinosaur to jump in a video game.”
Schroepfer added, “this is the future we’re building.” The most damning of quotes from this meeting came early on, with the following:
Facebook is having an end-of-year, company-wide meeting right now. One of its executives tried to rally employees by telling them: “We’re at the center of what it means to be human.”
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) December 15, 2020
Remember that Tom Cruise Scientology rant in which he suggested that they were “the authorities on the mind,” and “the authorities on improving conditions?” The tone-deaf attitude Facebook leadership continues to show, even now, makes making the connection between these PR blunders simple.