Facebook F8 2017 in 4 minutes Augmented reality, chat bots, AI and mind reading

When you read those words F8, Facebook Developer Conference is over. Like every year, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff showed us what they worked on in last months and how the future of social media will look like. If by any chance you missed keynote videos (day 1day 2) and didn’t have a chance to attend McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, we are here with a short summary of worth remembering announcements.

After revelations on F8 2016, Facebook’s direction stays unchanged in 2017 — extend our reality as much as possible by technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D cameras and everything else what could enrich the real world and make physical distance between people negligible.

In this year among the others we could see:

Camera effects — platform which turns our mobile devices into AR platform. You will be able not only add text or stickers to your photos and videos but also interact with them in 3D world model, drawing “around” cup of your favourite coffee or simply putting something on real-virtual table.

Facebook Spaces — virtual world in which thanks to VR systems from Oculus you will see and even interact with your friends and family, no matter if they are tens or thousands kilometers away.

AR Studio — for those who have artistic souls and gallery of camera effects isn’t enough, there is a tool which allows to build our own effects and animations.

And much, much more — AI to analyse people’s movement in realtime, new version of 3D 360 camera which gives us possibility to see places which weren’t be really photographed, but modelled by it’s software.

There are not much tech companies with Facebook scale, but most of them (like Google, Amazon, Netflix and others) are very keen to share their knowledge and experience with the world. Azimo’s tech team is proudly taking part in this contribution too, so we are even happier to hear about those great initiatives:

Facebook Developer Circles — similarly to Google Developer Groups or Apple educating the next generation how to code, Facebook builds its own knowledge sharing groups to help local communities, startups, entrepreneurs, and developers succeed.

Open source — It’s also unchanged that a lot of new technologies and solutions invented by facebook are shared with developers for free. Not telling about things released over the year, on F8 we could hear about some new projects for Android, JavaScript (React) and VR. There was also great announcement in field of Artificial Intelligence: Caffe2 — Deep Learning framework optimised to work on mobile devices (another one after Google’sTensorFlow). For sure it’ll bring more intelligence into mobile apps, especially in fields of computer vision, speech and language processing and much more for sure.

Connectivity — still there is a lot of places in the world where internet connection is limited or unavailable. Facebook continues their research in this field to make this medium of endless information widely distributed and high-speed.

One year after Facebook launched beta of Messenger Platform it seems that chatbots and rich messaging experience will stay with us for longer. During F8 we could hear about new list of features packed under Messenger Platform 2.0 version. Here you have list of the most important ones:

Discover Tab — That’s right, Messenger Bots have their own “apps store” where they are grouped by categories, popularity, location and others.

Smart replies — currently this feature is a bit mysterious, available for limited audience of businesses (mostly restaurants in US). While probably everyone heard about Artificial Intelligence, currently it’s still not easy to use it in reality. Even the simplest implementations require well qualified experts spending weeks to make it real. For small businesses it’s still beyond their reach.
With Smart Replies Facebook would like to change this situation — their AI is able to analyse fanpage, generate answers for frequently asked questions and use them in chatbot conversation. No additional implementation should be required on business side. With a few clicks you should be able to build your own chatbot powered by wit.ai, automatically answering questions like what are opening hours or what is today’s special.

Chat Extension — when one year ago Facebook presented Messenger Bots they worked as standalone apps with conversational interface. Now with Chat Extension you can finally add them directly into group or individual conversation. And it changes a lot! Let’s assume that you would like to send some money to your friend. Previously chatbot had to ask you who is your friend and how you would like to accomplish this action. Now, when bot knows the context (people who take part in conversation), setup steps aren’t needed — you can focus on what to do, not how.

Parametric Messenger Codes — QR-like codes for Messenger which should be able to open bot conversation with given context. Just imagine — you want to buy “this” hat. Instead of talking to clothing store chatbot, helloing him, simply scan Messenger Code on a label. Your conversation will start with the most intended question: “Would you like to buy it now? Yes/No.”

M — AI powered assistant currently available for really small group of users. Have you heard about Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby or Siri? That’s right — Facebook is catching up this area too.

At the end there is something what impressed us the most — Building 8. Like Google X, Facebook also wants to have it’s own moonshots. What it is? Wireless communication with brainwaves and speechless “talking” through skin. The technology of tomorrow is coming. To make the world a better place.

And that’s all from us, but definitely not everything what was announced on F8. Do you want more? You can see videos from all F8 talks.