Bloomsbury AI uses natural language processing it called ‘cape’ to create virtual assistants that can be taught to read, reason and communicate. Facebook is expected to use the acquisition to tackle the growing problem of fake news.
Bloomsbury AI was created with the ambition of taking AI to the point that it can answer more questions, including those requiring elements of reasoning and synthesis, to answer any question that requires reading better than a human. Cape allows developers to add question & answer functionality to websites and other documents. A statement on Facebook Academics, explained ‘we’re excited to announce that the team behind Bloomsbury AI has agreed to join Facebook in London. The Bloomsbury team has built a leading expertise in machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question. Their expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications.’
Media reports speculate Facebook will pay between $20m and $30m (£15m-£22m) to acquire the company in both cash and stocks. Bloomsbury was founded by chief executive Guillarme Bouchard and chief technology officer Luis Ulloa, when they managed to raise £1,360m in April 2017. Financial backing comes from b Fly.VC, Seedcamp, IQ Capital, UCL Technology Fund and government funded London Co-investment fund. In April this year the firm became one of Allen & Overy’s second tranche of companies joining Fuse, the firm’s law tech incubator located within its City premises.