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The Facebook Portal Smart Speaker Is Back, Now With More AI
Facebook’s 2018 was a parade of privacy scandals, congressional pressure, and executive squabbles.
The social and ad network capped off its annus horribilis with a curveball: asking consumers to spend $200 or more to install an internet-connected camera called Portal in their homes to make video calling easier.
Portal’s main feature when it first launched was person-tracking artificial intelligence that crops the video to keep everyone around the device in the frame, and can follow a specific person.
But Facebook has made other changes that give the device a shot at broader popularity, such as adding support for the world’s largest messaging platform, WhatsApp, which has 1.5 billion users and encrypts calls end-to-end.
Portal’s person-tracking algorithms, courtesy of Facebook’s AI researchers, are also used for filters that can enliven video calls by giving someone fuzzy ears or oversized spectacles.
Andrew Bosworth, who leads the division that produces Portal and Facebook’s virtual reality gear, says that means Portal could gain more elaborate augmented reality features in the future.
“There are tons of ways that you could imagine that becoming an experience that two people could share.” Bosworth acknowledges that Portal launched at an awkward time last year given Facebook’s controversies, but says people are now more comfortable with the idea of cohabiting with internet-connected cameras.
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ODSC West 2019 is one of the largest applied data science conferences in the world.
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- On 26. februar 2021
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