Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Meta Platforms, announced a series of groundbreaking AI products aimed at consumers during the Meta Connect conference, highlighting the integration of virtual and real worlds. The event marks Meta’s first in-person conference since the onset of the pandemic and its most significant event of the year.
Among the key announcements, Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new generation of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses, set to ship on October 17 at a price of $299. These glasses will incorporate a new Meta AI assistant and facilitate livestreaming directly to Facebook and Instagram. They represent a significant advancement over their predecessors, offering enhanced functionalities, including real-time broadcasts.
The latest iteration of the Quest mixed-reality headset will also start shipping on October 10. It comes with enhanced features and represents Meta’s ongoing efforts to deliver innovative VR experiences. Meta touted its Quest headset as the best value in the nascent VR space, particularly in light of the imminent release of a more expensive headset by Apple. The starting price of Meta Quest 3 Mixed Reality Headset is $499.99.
A major highlight of the announcement was the introduction of Meta AI, a chatbot capable of generating both text responses and photo-realistic images. Meta AI will be integrated into the new smart glasses as an assistant. Initially, a beta rollout of Meta AI will commence in the United States, with plans for a software update next year to enhance its capabilities, including place and object identification and language translation.
Meta crafted Meta AI using a custom model based on the powerful Llama 2 large language model released for public commercial use in July. The chatbot will have access to real-time information through a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
In an interview with Reuters, Meta Global Affairs President Nick Clegg emphasized the steps taken to ensure privacy, including filtering private details from the training data and restricting the tool from generating realistic images of public figures.
Additionally, Meta unveiled its plans to create a platform for developing custom AI bots, allowing both developers and ordinary individuals to create their own AI bots with profiles on Instagram and Facebook. These bots will eventually become avatars in the metaverse, further advancing Meta’s vision of a fully immersive digital world.
While the focus of the announcement was on enhancing existing applications and devices, rather than monetization, the advancements underline Meta’s commitment to AI and its integral role in shaping the future of technology and communication. The move signifies a strategic shift to capitalize on the growing interest in artificial intelligence. Investors and developers are keenly watching how these innovations unfold and shape the future of Meta Platforms in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.