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This New AI Chip Could Help Google, Facebook 'See' Videos Posted on Nov 14 - 2017

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I’ve just clicked on a tutorial video on YouTube about puppy-training, but there’s nary an ad about dogs or even pet care.

Instead, YouTube cues up a video ad for dishwashing tablets, before popping up a banner ad for a mobile game I’ll probably never play.

Google has struggled to make its video ads on YouTube relevant to what people are watching. Facebook has the same issue with the thousands of clips of videos uploaded from people's phones each day. Part of the problem is their algorithms can’t see the images flashing across each video, to help it target human eyeballs more effectively.

That would need some extremely heavy computations, in real time and at a massive scale.

Such is one of the more mundane pursuits for artificial intelligence: targeting you more effectively with video ads. And to do this, Google and Facebook need more powerful chips to process all the visual data uploaded each day to their platforms.

Today they, along with Microsoft, are evaluating the latest AI-focused chip produced by U.K. startup Graphcore, two sources close to the company say.

On Monday Graphcore announced it had raised $50 million from Sequoia Capital to produce cutting edge processors to power the next generation of AI software - digital assistants that will understand you better, and power the ad-targeting software on video platforms like YouTube.

Graphcore founder Nigel Toon said the new money would go towards expanding his commercial team to support his early customers. “We have 75 people in the company and we’ll double that in the next two years,” he said.

The company will ship its AI-focused chip to its first customer in early 2018, he added; Toon has worked on the IPU project for four years. The chips are designed to power the servers processing masses of data in the cloud for some of the world’s biggest Internet companies.

It’ll take longer for AI chips like Graphcore’s to be installed in physical devices like smartphones or smart speakers, Toon said, because so many Internet services are processed in the cloud anyway. View More

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