Facebook is gearing up to make its own artificial intelligence chips, with the company looking to hire chip designers.
According to a report in Financial Times, Facebook has placed ads for chip designers that can work on projects focused on AI, Oculus, the company’s virtual reality headsets and general data center operations.
The hiring blitz was highlighted by Facebook’s head of AI, Yann LeCun, who linked to the ad on Twitter and said in a tweet: “I used to be a chip designer many moons ago,” noted the report.
Facebook isn’t the only one eyeing the AI chip market. Apple has also been aggressively going after the market, and now makes its own specialized AI chip for the iPhone and Google. That has created change in the semiconductor world, where Intel used to be the dominant player. Nvidia’s stock has also gotten a big boost as a result of the shift.
AI is also at the center of Facebook’s efforts to stop the spread of fake news and other offending content on its social media platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even spoke about the AI technology when he appeared before Congress last week to discuss the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. In that case, the political consulting firm, which was working on Donald Trump’s election campaign, accessed the data of 87 million users without their consent.
The report noted that in addition to using AI chips for its Oculus unit, Facebook is increasingly relying on advanced chips to handle all of the data-intensive tasks that are happening or emerging. By creating AI chips in-house, Facebook will be able to ensure that the hardware meets its specific needs, instead of relying on a vendor. The report noted it could take the company years to come out with its own AI chip, given that it is hiring rather than buying a firm with the capabilities.