Sep 27, 2023 - Technology

Meta debuts new AI assistant and chatbots

Meta on Wednesday debuted a slew of new AI-focused products, including a new "Meta AI" chatbot assistant and more than two dozen AI characters that will live across its social media and messaging apps.

The big picture: Meta enters a growing field of AI-powered chatbots launched by rival tech firms.

  • Snap launched "My AI" chatbot in February. OpenAI released "ChatGPT-4" chatbot in March; Google began publicly testing its "Bard" chatbot that month, too.

Driving the news: In a glitzy presentation during its annual Meta Connect conference, Meta debuted a slew of new products related not just to its AI efforts, but also its virtual and mixed reality business.

  • Meta AI, the company's new conversational assistant, will be available in WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram beginning Wednesday in the U.S. The company said it will eventually make Meta AI available to users of its Ray-Ban smart glasses and its Quest 3 virtual reality headset.
  • Image generation will be available using the chatbot. Upon request, Meta AI will be able to generate photorealistic images from text prompts that U.S. users can share with friends.
  • 28 new AI personalities have also launched in beta, each with "unique interests and personalities," Meta said. Some personalities are played by famous people including Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady and Naomi Osaka.
  • New Ray-Ban smart glasses were also introduced at the event. The new shades, which enable users to access Meta's chatbot, are lighter and have improved audio and cameras.
  • Meta Quest 3, Meta's new mixed-reality headset, made its debut at the event. The mixed reality headset, which Meta claims is the first available mass-market, will be available in October for roughly $500 of $650, depending on storage capacity.

Between the lines: For years, Meta debuted new social media features, most notably live video streaming, without acknowledging the potential risks.

  • Meta published a blog post Wednesday outlining safeguards it's building into its AI features and models to foster safer experiences with its products.

The big picture: Meta's foray into AI has mostly revolved around the release of its open source AI models.

  • In July, it made its large language model for generative AI, Llama 2, available freely for commercial use.
  • But the real power of Meta's investments in artificial intelligence, commercially, will be its ability to boost engagement and monetization to help the company make more money now.

What's next: Over time, Meta says it will make AI personalities available for businesses and creators, and it will release its AI creator studio tools for developers and Meta users to build their own AIs.

Go deeper: Meta's big AI play: Shoring up its ad business

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