Meta has revealed a collection of fresh chatbots designed for integration into its Messenger service. These chatbots are programmed with distinct ‘personalities’ and specialize in specific subjects, such as holidays or cooking advice. This announcement marks the latest development in the ongoing competition among tech giants to create more precise and customized artificial intelligence solutions.
During Meta’s first in-person event in California since the onset of the pandemic, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that the chatbots are a work in progress and come with certain ‘limitations.’ The company’s primary chatbot, named ‘Meta AI,’ will be available for use in messaging, allowing users to ask questions and even settle disputes through chat. Notably, Meta AI is built upon Llama 2, the company’s large language model released for public commercial use in July.
In a bid to go beyond merely answering queries, Meta has enlisted the personalities of several celebrities, including Snoop Dogg and Kendall Jenner, to lend their charisma to various chatbots. The objective is to create chatbots that offer not just information but also entertainment value, as Zuckerberg emphasized.
According to Meta, NFL star Tom Brady will embody an AI character known as ‘Bru,’ described as a humorous sports debater, while YouTube sensation MrBeast will portray ‘Zach,’ a big brother figure with a penchant for humorous teasing. Despite these exciting developments, Zuckerberg admitted that there are still ‘a lot of limitations’ regarding what the chatbots can handle.
The chatbots will gradually roll out, starting with the United States. Beyond chatbots, Mark Zuckerberg also discussed the metaverse, a virtual world concept that Meta has heavily invested in. The company provided further details about its virtual reality headset, Quest 3, touting it as the first ‘mainstream’ mixed reality headset. Equipped with forward-facing cameras, it will support augmented reality and will be available starting October 10.
While Meta’s ventures into the metaverse have involved significant financial investments, the company’s VR division has incurred substantial losses of $21 billion (£17 billion) since the beginning of 2022. This announcement follows Apple’s entry into the high-end mixed reality hardware market with the Vision Pro earlier in the year.
Mark Zuckerberg’s approach to VR has breathed new life into the sector, according to Mat Day, Global Gaming Strategy Director for EssenceMediacom. He noted that Meta’s VR roadmap now focuses on affordable hardware for the mass market, in contrast to Apple’s strategy targeting high-end tech enthusiasts.
Additionally, on the same day as Meta’s announcement, rival OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, confirmed that its chatbot, ChatGPT, can now browse the internet to provide users with real-time information. Previously, the artificial intelligence-powered system relied solely on data up to September 2021.”