On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms, announced the release of new AI products for consumers. These products include bots that can generate lifelike images, smart glasses that can provide answers to queries, and an upgraded virtual-reality headset.
Zuckerberg stated that the products combine virtual and physical realms, emphasizing that Meta provides affordable or complimentary AI that can be incorporated into daily life. The company’s Quest is a top-selling item in the emerging VR market, with executives touting it as the most cost-effective option available, in light of Apple’s upcoming release of a pricier headset.
Mr. Zuckerberg announced from the central courtyard of Meta’s large Silicon Valley headquarters that a new version of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses will be released on October 17th for $299.
The new model of the device will include a Meta AI assistant and have the ability to livestream the user’s perspective to Facebook and Instagram. This is an improvement from the previous version, which could only take photos.
Mark Zuckerberg was a speaker at the Meta Connect conference, which is the largest event of the year for the social media company. It was also the first in-person conference for the company since the pandemic began.
Additionally, he announced that the most recent Quest mixed-reality headset will begin shipping on October 10th and unveiled the company’s initial generative AI products for consumers. This includes a chatbot named Meta AI, which has the ability to produce both written responses and lifelike images.
“Sometimes we innovate by releasing something that’s never been seen before,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “But sometimes we innovate by taking something that is awesome, but super expensive, and making it so it can be affordable for everyone or even free.”
The upcoming release of smart glasses in the United States will include an integrated Meta AI assistant. A software update scheduled for the following year will equip the assistant with the capability to recognize locations and objects in the user’s field of vision, as well as provide language translation services.
Meta created Meta AI by utilizing a unique model built upon the impressive Llama 2 large language model, which was made available for public commercial use by the company in July. Through a collaboration with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, the chatbot will be able to access live information, according to Mr. Zuckerberg.
During a conversation with Reuters, Nick Clegg, President of Meta Global Affairs, stated that the company has implemented measures to remove sensitive information from the data used to educate the model. Additionally, limitations have been put in place for the output of the tool, such as prohibiting the creation of realistic visuals of public figures.
Mr. Clegg stated that they made an effort to remove datasets that contain a significant amount of personal information. He used LinkedIn as an example of a deliberately excluded website.
CUSTOM AI BOTS
Meta recently revealed their plans to develop a platform for both developers and regular individuals to create personalized AI bots. These bots will have profiles on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook and will eventually be incorporated as avatars in the metaverse.
According to a post on the company’s blog, Meta has designed 28 chatbots with varying personalities, using the voices of celebrities such as Charli D’Amelio, Snoop Dogg, and Tom Brady, in order to showcase the tool’s abilities.
The characteristics seemed to be focused on enhancing current applications and devices rather than creating new advertisement platforms or other means of income.
According to Bob O’Donnell, the chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, it may be a while before we see Meta monetizing AI products. Instead, their focus seems to be on indirectly supporting the development of a platform that other developers can use.
On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg announced that Xbox cloud gaming will be available on Quest starting in December.
The Quest 3 headset was initially revealed by Meta during the summer, coinciding with the release of Apple’s premium Vision Pro headset, which is priced at $3,500.
The Quest 3, priced at $500, features the same mixed-reality technology as the higher-priced Quest Pro device released by Meta last year. This technology allows wearers to see a video feed of their surroundings in the real world.
The day’s announcements show Mr. Zuckerberg’s strategy for managing the change in investor interest from augmented and virtual reality technologies to artificial intelligence this year.
The stakes were high for the event because investors criticized the parent company of Facebook and Instagram for spending a lot on the metaverse last year. This led Mr. Zuckerberg to lay off many employees in order to keep funding his vision.
Software developers were observing to determine the potential applications they could design for Meta’s newest hardware devices. At the same time, investors were searching for indications of whether their risky investment, which has resulted in a loss of over $40 billion for the company since 2021, will be successful.