Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a series of new AI-driven products during the Meta Connect conference, marking the company’s first in-person event since the pandemic began. These products aim to bridge the gap between virtual and real worlds, offering affordable or even free AI integration into people’s daily lives.
Smart Glasses and VR Headsets:
- Meta is releasing a new generation of Ray-Ban smart glasses starting on October 17, priced at $299. These glasses will feature an upgraded Meta AI assistant and the capability to livestream what the wearer sees directly to Facebook and Instagram.
- The latest Quest mixed-reality headset will be available on October 10, offering a blend of virtual and real-world experiences.
Generative AI Products:
- Meta introduced its first consumer-facing generative AI products, including a chatbot named Meta AI that can generate text responses and photo-realistic images.
Meta AI Assistant:
- Meta AI will be integrated into the smart glasses as an assistant, initially in a beta rollout in the United States. Future updates will enhance its abilities to identify places and objects and perform language translation.
- This AI was created using a custom model based on the Llama 2 large language model, which Meta released for public commercial use in July. It will have access to real-time information through a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Custom AI Bots:
- Meta is building a platform for developers and users to create custom AI bots, which will have profiles on Instagram and Facebook and eventually become avatars in the metaverse.
- To showcase this capability, Meta created 28 chatbots with different personalities, some emulating the voices of celebrities like Charli D’Amelio, Snoop Dogg, and Tom Brady.
Xbox Cloud Gaming Integration:
- Zuckerberg announced that Xbox cloud gaming will be coming to Quest in December.
These developments reflect Meta’s strategy to expand its presence in the AI space and offer more immersive and interactive experiences for users. The company seeks to provide affordable AI solutions and enhance existing hardware rather than focusing on immediate monetization of AI products. Zuckerberg’s goal is to navigate the shift in investor interest from augmented and virtual reality to artificial intelligence.
Investors closely monitored these announcements as Meta had faced criticism for its extensive spending on the metaverse, leading to layoffs and financial challenges. Developers also awaited insights into creating applications for Meta’s latest hardware offerings.