Twitter and its AI/ML endeavors

Elon Musk and Twitter are in the spotlight yet again and this time they are the focus of attention because the Tesla and SpaceX CEO is all set to buy one of the world’s most influential social networks. But our post isn’t really about this real big deal which involves a whopping $44 billion!

Staying loyal to our readers, we will talk about artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of social media giant Twitter. We will discuss how the platform, which counts itself to be a ‘home to a world of diverse people, perspectives, ideas, and information’, is leveraging AI and machine learning (ML) technologies. Among others, Twitter is using these technologies to drive conversations, engagement and improve user experience as the company’s overarching mission has been to serve the public conversation.

From acquiring a deep-learning-based computer vision startup, Madbits, in 2014 to Fabula AI in 2019, Twitter has been strategically investing in these areas to strengthen its AI/ML expertise. The ultimate goal behind all this has been to improve the health of the conversation taking place on the platform.

In a 2016 blog Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder, wrote: “It’s (ML) powering much of the work we’re doing to make it easier to create, share, and discover the very best content so that every time you open Twitter you’re immersed in the most relevant news, stories, and events for you.” While almost similar was said by Parag Agrawal, Twitter CEO, in 2019 when the company acquired Fabula AI. “Machine learning plays a key role in powering Twitter and our purpose of serving the public conversation.” These very words by the company’s top leadership are self-explanatory as to how crucial machine learning and artificial intelligence have been for the microblogging platform.

Launched in 2015, Cortex is today Twitter’s core team which facilitates ML endeavors and accelerates its impact within and outside the company. As per the company, Twitter Cortex provides a ML platform, signals, models and research to Twitter’s product teams so that they can accelerate the realization of Twitter’s mission.

As the debate over responsible development and application of AI/ML technologies has been growing for quite some time, Twitter has also embarked upon its journey of responsible machine learning. In April last year, Twitter launched the Responsible Machine Learning Initiative to improve its ML algorithms by taking responsibility for its algorithmic decisions and offering transparency, equity and fairness of outcomes and enabling agency and algorithmic choice. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to improve and build a better Twitter.

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