What are Meta’s new AI and VR tools?
Meta has announced a range of new AI-based features at its 2023 Connect conference, which is headlined by its AI chat assistant tool. It will essentially integrate a ChatGPT-like bot within all of Meta’s apps.
What’s more, it will be available in different personalities, based on celebrity voices, in order to enhance familiarity and engagement.
There is a heap to dig into and consider. Here is a summary of all the key updates announced at Connect on day one.
First off, as noted, the big announcement of the day, which Meta is hoping will be its leap into generative AI as its new AI assistant.
According to Meta, Meta AI is a new assistant you can interact with like a person. It will be available on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, and also coming soon to Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3.
It is powered by a custom model that leverages technology from Llama 2 and our latest large language model (LLM) research.
In text-based chats, Meta AI has access to real-time information through our search partnership with popular search engine Bing and offers a tool for image generation.
Partnership with Bing? That’s unusual.
In a separate post, Microsoft outlined how Bing data will be shared with Meta AI.
Meta is thrilled to announce that they have begun to work with Meta to integrate Bing into Meta AI’s chat experiences. It enables more timely and up-to-date answers with access to real-time search information.
The integration of Bing extends to Meta AI and a few of Meta’s other AIs available to message within WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
So, real-time information is needed to fuel Meta’s AI responses. Wonder what Microsoft is getting in return?
The new AI chatbot will function much like you would expect. It will provide the capacity to ask questions and get immediate answers to queries in-stream.
It is in line with the latest wave of AI chatbots, though it is also worth noting that Meta tried this same thing back in 2015.
It was Meta’s first chat assistant tool, called “M.” It was designed to provide direct answers and prompts to stream and usher in the new age of chatbots on Messenger.
However, it had problems, with the bot sometimes producing questionable replies. Meaning it had to be heavily monitored by actual humans in order to keep it in line.
Meta eventually ended the “M” experiment in 2018 due to high maintenance and low usage, with the latter being more of a concern for Meta at this stage, as it tries the same again.
Of course, the new “M,” as it is not called “M,” but is pretty much the same thing, will be powered by Meta’s more advanced AI. It should make it more valuable. But will users be more receptive to such the second time around?
This time, Meta is not taking any chances. It is the reason why it is also giving its new chatbot celebrity voices to enhance the experience.
Meta’s new chatbot experience will allow you to interact with the communication style of any of these celebrities. Meta is hoping that its new chatbot will make it a more engaging and entertaining experience.
All in all, there are 28 characters that you can interact with via Meta’s AI chatbot, with more to come. It includes bots in the style of Bear Grylls, Chloe Kim, and Josh Richards, among many others.
Will that make it a bigger hit this time around?
Several users have their doubts, as it seems like more of a gimmick. It will generate initial interest, for sure, but that will wear off quickly.
But with different characters and different styles, it can provide you with valuable information and more personalities on the way. It could get more people engaging with AI bots in each app.
We will find out with Meta’s new AI chatbots rolling out in beta testing with selected U.S. users from today.
AI Tools on IG
AI image editing is also coming to Instagram with a new feature that will essentially add new AI-driven filters for your posts.
So rather than just adding a regular image filter, the new AI editing tools will enable you to recreate your uploads in a completely different style.
The ‘Restyle’ tool lets you reimagine your images by applying the visual styles you describe. You can think of typing a descriptor like “watercolor” or a more detailed prompt like “collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges” to describe the new look and feel of the image you want to create.
It could spark a range of new visual trends in the app, with simple prompts that could drive new and artistic style movements that are based on prompts.
Brands could also use this to create customized, thematic visuals if they could then apply it to all of their uploads moving forward by using the same prompt for each.
The Backdrop changes the scene or background of your image. Prompts like “put me in front of a sublime aurora borealis” or “surrounded by puppies.”
It will cue the tool to create an image of the primary subject in the foreground with the background you described.
It could be a valuable option for product photography or customized model shots and examples, with brands able to create a consistent scene that they can use for each of their IG uploads.
It could be a valuable addition, and it will likely see a lot of experimentation and interest.
Generative AI Stickers
Meta has also announced new AI stickers. It will enable users to create custom digital stickers for chats and stories.
Now, on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories, you will be able to use simple text prompts to create cartoonish stickers to add to your interactions.
Meta says that using technology from Llama 2 and our foundational model for image generation called Emu. Our AI tool turns your text prompts into multiple unique, high-quality stickers in seconds.
It means that they don’t seem like a huge innovation, but Meta also notes that billions of stickers are sent across its apps each month, so that they could be a valuable option for many people.
Meta says that AI stickers will roll out to select English language users over the next month.
Create Your Own AI Bot
On another front, Meta is also launching a new AI studio. It will enable people to create their own AI engagement systems that are based on their communication style and voice.
Developers will be able to build third-party AIs for our messaging services with our APIs in the coming weeks, starting on Messenger and then expanding to WhatsApp.
Businesses will also be able to create AIs that reflect their brand’s values and improve customer service experiences.
Depending on the data inputs required for such, it could be an easy way to integrate AI chatbots into your business interaction process.
It could be a valuable engagement option, especially if more consumers become more accustomed to communication with these new bot tools.
Ray Ban Stories V.2
Meta has also announced a new version of its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, with improved hardware and battery life.
You can now live stream from the glasses to Facebook or Instagram. Moreover, you can see the comments in your preview or tap and hold on the side of your glasses to hear them out loud to engage with your community as you are living in the moment.
It could be a big addition, and it could make the device a more attractive option for online creators.
The new Ray Ban Stories glasses will start at $US299, and pre-orders are open now on meta.com and ray-ban.com. These glasses will be available for purchase online and in retail stores starting October 17th.
Finally, Meta also unveiled its new Quest 3 VR headset.
The new Quest 3, its most advanced VR unit yet, will be available to users from October 10th, with Meta hoping that it will be featured prominently on many Christmas wish lists.
Meta has shared a range of insights into the Quest 3 already, with the new headset to facilitate both VR and mixed reality experiences.
“Meta Quest 3 features breakthrough mixed reality that enables a spectrum of experiences. You can play a virtual piano on your coffee table or open a portal to another dimension right in your living room. — all while high-fidelity, full-color through keep your physical surroundings in sight with over 10 times more pixels compared to Meta Quest 2.
Meta is hoping that this new unit will become the standard for VR experiences. It will also help to guide users towards its next-level metaverse environment.
It is quite interesting too
The Quest 3 starts at $US499.99 for the 128GB version and $US649.99 for the 512GB model.
In addition to this, Meta is also sharing some brief notes on its coming Meta Quest for Business platform. It will enable users to incorporate various enterprise applications. It includes Microsoft 365 tools in a virtual office space.
Meta has yet to share much info on this, but it will add another angle to its broader VR push. Meta has been developing professional VR usage options since 2020.
With a heap of updates to consider with a range of implications, Meta is making a big push on generative AI. It has been coming for some time, but whether users warm to these new AI elements will be the big test for its expanding efforts on this front.
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