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Twitter buys Magic Pony for artificial intelligence tech and talent

Twitter has been eyeing several startups lately to add to their technology arsenal. Their newest acquisition could greatly enhance their live video and imagine capabilities.

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Giddy up, tweeps!

Twitter users may soon notice a great improvement in the visual content of their apps, if their latest acquisition is any indicator. Twitter recently acquired a new-ish startup based in London specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). The company, Magic Pony, uses machine learning to build improved systems for visual processing. More specifically, according to Twitter’s blog post, Magic Pony’s technology is, “based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery and will be used to enhance Twitter’s strength in live and video.”


Why Magic Pony?

Twitter plans to add this technology to other recent acquisitions including Madbits and Whetlab. Magic Pony’s team, including 11 PhDs, will be added to the Twitter Cortex team. This team is comprised of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers dedicated to building a products that are engaging and innovative.

Twitter plans to continue “building strength in their deep learning teams with world-class talent to help Twitter be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first.”

This may be a nod to their earlier acquisition, Periscope. They could be planning to use Magic Pony’s technology to innovate Periscope along with their other apps.

What can Twitter do with this new technology?

Magic Pony’s technology can restore lost information to blurry pictures, create new visuals from scratch, and even “restore” or create a realistic face from scratch. In one example, Magic Pony showed a pixelated image of the main character of Doom, and then created a more life-like rendering.

Think about where this could take live facial recognition software, cleaning up video imaging, and everything else under the sun to do with video.

Twitter has declined to share how much they paid for Magic Pony, however, TechCrunch, citing sources, says Twitter will paid $150 million for the company, including bonuses. This clearly demonstrates the company’s commitment to live video, but their competition is fierce. Magic Pony offers another advantage here as well: Magic Pony is said to be one of the fastest loading, stable platforms in visual processing.

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20 patents of awesomeness

Again, according to TechCrunch, Magic Pony has remained, for the most part, off the radar; their website has never offered more than a simple statement about what it does and the number of patents that it has filed (there are around 20 now, with several of them listed here) which will now belong to Twitter. It seems as though the social media company has made a wise investment in their future. What do you think Twitter will do with their recently acquired technology?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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