Twitter today announced that it had acquired Magic Pony, a London based AI start up, which uses machine learning to create improved visual processing.
Twitter looking to enhance visual processing through machine learning
On a blog, written by Twitter’s founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, he announced, ” Today, we’re very excited to announce that we’re expanding our capabilities in machine learning by acquiring Magic Pony Technology, a London-based technology company that has developed novel machine learning techniques for visual processing.”
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He continued, “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.”
It is thought that Twitter wants to add the technology to its platform to enhance the quality of streamed video, or to be used as part of image compression. It almost sounds like “Pied Piper” from the popular HBO comedy “Silicon Valley.”
Magic Pony Technology
Magic Pony only started in 2014, but has had a rapid rise to prominence. Earlier this year they demonstrated the technology that could take an image and either restore it (they used the pixelated main character from computer game Doom) or generate an image from scratch.
The company stated that it was excited to combine forces with the social media giant, in what they hoped would “improve the visual experiences that are delivered across their apps”
Cofounder, Rob Bishop, said when talking to the MIT Technology Review in April, “online video-streaming businesses rely heavily on video compression. Our first product demonstrates that image quality can be greatly enhanced using deep learning, and fast mobile GPUs now allow us to deploy it anywhere.”
It is thought the deal was worth around $150 million. This is not Twitter’s first venture into machine learning, as Dorsey pointed out, with the company having bought Madbits in June 2014 and Whetlab in July 2015. The Magic Pony team, (which is comprised of 11PhDs with experience in computer vision, machine learning and computational neuroscience) will be working as part of Twitter Cortex, a team of engineers and scientists, “dedicated to building a product in which people can easily find new experiences to share and participate in.”