Social networking company Twitter is to beef up its machine learning capabilities with the acquisition of London-based company Magic Pony. Terms have not been disclosed.
The news was announced this afternoon by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Magic Pont is not the first machine learning or artificial intelligence company that Twitter has acquired in the past two years.
"Our acquisition of Magic Pony builds on other investments we've made in machine learning, beginning with Madbits in July 2014 and Whetlab in June 2015," wrote Dorsey.
"Magic Pony's team will join Twitter Cortex, a team of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers dedicated to building a product in which people can easily find new experiences to share and participate in."
Magic Pony's niche is image recognition, and Dorsey explained that the acquisition is very much about picking up this technology as well as the skills of the individuals behind it.
"Magic Pony's technology, based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery, will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter," he said.
"The team includes 11 PhDs with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational neuroscience, who are alumni of some of the top labs in the world."
Twitter's value isn't in the platform it provides to its users to share information, promote themselves and their companies and, frankly, to argue with each other. Rather, it is the ability of other companies to target advertising at those people, as well as to scoop up information about them that their online sharing provides.
Machine learning can therefore provide better targeted advertising and ought to offer new insights into users and their opinions and habits.
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