By Michael Moore
Facebook users sick of being tagged in unflattering photos, or guilty of sharing them, could soon get a reprieve thanks to a new drive by the company to better understand its users.
The social networking site is looking at developing a "digital assistant" program, which learns your usage habits and can offer guidance to prevent future embarrassment, such as uploading photos of a wild night out in the early hours of the morning.
The tool can use facial recognition technology to distinguish between your normal face and one that may have been influenced by a night of partying, as well as that of your friends.
The scheme is being headed up by Yann LeCun, the New York University researcher and machine-learning guru who heads up the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab, a team of AI researchers inside the Internet giant that spans offices in both California and New York.
LeCun and his team are utilizing "deep learning" technology to monitor a user's overall Facebook behavior to establish a set of contexts than can analyze the text you type into status posts, automatically suggesting relevant hashtags.
"Imagine that you had an intelligent digital assistant which would mediate your interaction with your friends and also with content on Facebook," LeCun told Wired.
"You need a machine to really understand content and understand people and be able to hold all that data," he says. "That is an AI-complete problem."
LeCun also wants the technology to instantly notify you when someone you don't know posts your photo to the social network without your approval. And if it thinks something is embarrassing or even illegal, it will be able to warn users.
Deep learning technology, which looks to mimic the thought processes of the human brain, is already in use on Facebook as well as the likes of Google and Twitter, using algorithms to identify the right content to display in a user's news feed in an effort to get them to click on more adverts.
Moving forward, LeCun says that the technology should become an integral part of Facebook's evolution, which could even involve Oculus Rift, the virtual reality pioneer bought by the company earlier this year, and even possibly robotics in the future.