Twitter announced today that it has acquired London-based startup Magic Pony Technology, which develops machine learning techniques for visual processing. Machine learning is a field in which computers are taught to think more like humans, and Techcrunch, which pegs the acquisition at $150 million, says Twitter could be using Magic Pony’s technologies to enhance the quality of pictures and videos across the platform.
“Magic Pony’s technology — based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery — will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter,” Jack Dorsey wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal.
Magic Pony’s team — which includes 11 PhDs, Dorsey notes — will be joining the Twitter Cortex team, a group of engineers, data scientists, and machine learning researchers.
Eighteen-month-old Magic Pony, which has filed over 20 international patents, said in a statement that its technologies will henceforth be dedicated to improving “visual experiences that are delivered across [Twitter’s] apps,” which, in addition to its flagship platform, also includes Vine and Periscope. “We’re looking forward to vastly accelerating our rate of research [and] growing our team, which will serve as the European homebase for Twitter’s machine learning efforts.”