Facebook looks as if it is in the early stages of developing its own silicon to power its devices and servers, according to the report reaching us from our sources. The company is trying to employ a manager who will be given the duty of assembling an “end-to-end SoC / ASIC, firmware, and driver development organization.” The plan is being developed but the interest of Facebook in becoming more autonomous and less dependent on external companies like Qualcomm makes it the latest tech company to go down on this path.
Apple already has self-designed chips in its iOS devices and according to the reports from our sources is planning to replace Intel processors in Mac computers with its own. Google on its part has produced custom AI chips and included its first consumer-focused silicon (an image processor) in the Pixel 2 last year. It seems like the company has greater aspirations as part of its rivalry with Apple. Amazon is also said to be developing chips to improve Alexa’s AI smarts.
Facebook’s job listings are under infrastructure category, so it’s likely that the chip team will be working hard toward the company’s artificial intelligence servers. Currently, the servers that train Facebook’s AI systems are powered by Nvidia. Apple’s CEO stated that AI will eventually play a bigger role in flagging inappropriate content across the social network than it currently does even though it’s not a workable solution for the company’s profound issues.
Facebook could also power smart speakers or future Oculus virtual reality headsets with its own chips. That would let the company make the kind of developments and optimizations that are only possible when hardware and software are tightly integrated throughout the entire development process. It is true that a lot of people accuse Facebook of spying on them despite hard evidence to the contrary, so there is a high possibility of having trust issues should the company begins to put its own silicon into consumer gadgets.