Meta puts AI at the service of its worlds – Le Journal de Montréal

Meta unveiled its latest innovations on Wednesday, personalized chatbots and new augmented and virtual reality devices, as the California-based company fell behind in the latest generation of artificial intelligence (AI).

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During Connect, Meta’s annual event for developers, boss Mark Zuckerberg presented “Meta AI”, his general chatbot, as well as “Becca, devoted mother to her dog” and “Max, experienced sous chef”, two of 28 virtual characters created for interaction were with users.

They will have their own profiles on Facebook and Instagram, will have voices by next year and some will be played by celebrities such as Paris Hilton (“Amber, Detective Who Did What”) or YouTube star MrBeast ( “Zach, the big brother who gently makes fun of you”).

This was Connect’s first in-person event since 2019, before the pandemic.

Meta was eagerly awaited in terms of generative AI, which makes it possible to produce all types of content (text, images, sounds, code, etc.) through simple queries in everyday language.

Its neighbors and competitors, led by OpenAI, Google and Microsoft, are in a frantic race to provide these types of tools, with chatbots and other creation support tools integrated into their online services and software.

“Still very limited”

But after the failure of the launch of Galactica (a language model from Meta specializing in scientific research) last November, the group changed its tactics.

The focus was on the open source (free access to programming code) of its Llama 2 language model for researchers and developers, as well as the use cases for users of its products.

“Meta’s new chatbots will have many functions, including as specialized research tools,” commented Yory Wurmser, analyst at Insider Intelligence.

“This is our first attempt at training AIs that are a little more fun,” Zuckerberg said.

“This is the beginning, they are still very limited,” he added, pointing out that unlike “Meta AI,” they currently do not have real-time access to the Internet.

Generative AI is also taking up more and more space in virtual and augmented realities.

This will make it possible to make more complex voice requests to connected glasses from Meta and Ray-Ban (the new model will launch this fall starting at $300).

“Hey Meta, write me a funny caption for Instagram about training my cat Adobo,” asked Li-Chen Miller, vice president of the company, during a demonstration in which she filmed her cat thanks to the camera built into the glasses.

The American company also announced technical details about the Quest 3, its new mixed reality headset, which was presented last June. It will be sold starting at $500, with delivery starting October 10th.

The Cost of the Metaverse

The Quest 3 “will offer the best value on the market for quite some time,” said Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s technology director, to laughter from the audience at Menlo Park, the group’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Developers, analysts and journalists saw this as a dig at Apple, which introduced its first “mixed” reality headset (virtual and augmented) called “Vision Pro” in June. Sales start early next year at $3,500.

At the end of 2021, during the pandemic, Facebook went meta with the idea of ​​becoming a metaverse company, which Mark Zuckerberg describes as the future of the Internet after web and mobile.

But the path to augmented and virtual reality is full of pitfalls.

The Californian group experienced a difficult year in 2022, marked by the first decline in its advertising revenue since its IPO in 2012. And Facebook lost users before it gained them back.

The company, which had never launched a social plan in its 20 years of existence, laid off 11,000 employees (13% of the workforce) in November and 10,000 last March.

In this context, many investors and analysts are skeptical about spending on building virtual worlds.

Reality Labs, the arm responsible for developing devices and applications for the Metaverse, lost $13.7 billion in 2022, and Meta expects another strong gain in 2024.