Following last week’s news that Google is pouring more resources into machine learning with the formation of a Zurich-based research group dedicated to the field, Twitter has just announced that it is also investing in the same area of AI by acquiring London-based startup Magic Pony Technology.
While the terms of the deal are not being disclosed, TechCrunch reports that Twitter paid $150 million for the UK company.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a blog post: “Machine learning is increasingly at the core of everything we build at Twitter. It’s powering much of the work we’re doing to make it easier to create, share, and discover the very best content so that every time you open Twitter you’re immersed in the most relevant news, stories, and events for you.”
Dorsey went on to say that Magic Pony makes “algorithms that can understand the features of imagery.” The startup's technology can sharpen and enhance the resolution of blurred and low-res videos in real-time.
This team helps us with our goal of making Twitter the first and best place to see what's happening in the world, and talk about it, live!— Jack (@jack) June 20, 2016
It’s this ability to improve an image using information that isn’t in the picture that brought about the company’s unusual name. An early investor who saw the process said it was unbelievable, like a “magic pony.”
Magic Pony said it would be using its tech to improve the visual experiences that are delivered across Twitter’s apps. It added that the company’s team would serve as “the European homebase for Twitter’s machine learning efforts.”
It was around this time last year when Twitter acquired Whetlab, another UK-based startup that specialized in machine learning. The deals show the company is one of many that believe machine learning will play a huge part in the future of technology.