Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than marketing mumbo jumbo. You needn’t look further for evidence of its pervasiveness than Amazon’s Echo smart speaker lineup, Facebook’s photo-tagging facial recognition systems, or Apple’s Siri.
Yet another influential player in the space is Pinterest. The social bookmarking tool, which boasts more than 200 million monthly active users, leans heavily on computer vision and natural language processing to “get people to do things in the real world,” in the words of chief technology officer Vanja Josifovski.
“We don’t see ourselves as a social networking engine. There isn’t a part of the company where we don’t use AI,” he said onstage at VentureBeat’s Transform 2018 summit.
One example is Pinterest’s Lens feature, which performs pattern recognition to pick apart the content of pins — the posts that populate Pinterest users’ profiles — and recommend like content. If you snap a picture of a dining room table, for example, you might get a list of room decor ideas, or buyable pins for candles and rugs in-frame. (Lens powers Samsung’s object-detecting Bixby Vision tool on the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, and Galaxy Note 9.)
Shop the Look, another AI-powered Pinterest tool, uses object recognition to detect and search for items in photos, surfacing recommendations from partners that include Curalate, Olapic, Project September, Refinery 29, ShopStyle, and retailers like CB2, Macy’s, Target, Neiman, and Wayfair.
That is just the beginning, however. Josifovski said future Pinterest products might tap AI to understand and collate…