Meta has new artificial intelligence tools and celebrity-endorsed digital assistants that CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes will help to jump-start the metaverse.
During Meta’s Interface conference for VR designers held at its Menlo Park, California central command on Wednesday, Zuckerberg unveiled the company’s most recent AI computer program, the Quest 3 virtual reality headset, and its newest Ray-Ban smart glasses.
In the near future, users of Facebook’s diverse chat applications such as WhatsApp and Messenger will have the capability to easily share digital stickers generated automatically through text prompts, leveraging the growing popularity of technologies like ChatGPT.
As an illustration, individuals have the option to compose a prompt like “pizza playing basketball,” resulting in the creation of a comical digital sticker featuring a cartoonish pizza slice holding a basketball.
Furthermore, Zuckerberg unveiled upcoming AI-driven editing tools for Instagram, a platform owned by Meta, set to launch next month. These tools will empower users to make modifications to their photos and images using written prompts.
During a demonstration, he showcased how different prompts could transform one of his childhood photos, depicting him wearing an unattractive sweater in one version and sporting blue hair in another. He also converted a photo of his dog Beast to resemble something akin to an origami figurine.
Meta Unveils the Next-Gen Quest 3 VR Headset
Meta has introduced the Quest 3, the successor to the all-time best-selling VR headset, priced at $499, which is $200 more than its predecessor.
Despite the price increase, it comes with significant enhancements, including a more powerful Qualcomm chip, upgraded screens, and a standout feature known as “passthrough,” expected to be a key element in Apple’s Vision Pro headset.
Preorders open on Wednesday and it ships on Oct. 10.
The Quest 3’s standout feature is its ability to seamlessly switch between the virtual and real worlds, reducing isolation and increasing comfort during prolonged use, activated with a double-tap on the headset.
Additionally, it features “pancake lenses,” an optical innovation first introduced in Meta’s $1,499 Quest Pro, enhancing image clarity and enabling higher-resolution visuals.
This launch positions Meta for a competitive face-off with Apple in the virtual reality arena. While many anticipate Apple’s entry to expand the VR market, Meta’s Quest 2 remains the reigning bestseller, having sold nearly 10 million units last year, despite a slight drop from its pandemic peak.
In contrast, Apple’s Vision Pro, starting at $3,499, won’t be available until next year. However, the extent of Quest 2’s daily or weekly usage and the search for VR’s killer app continue to pose challenges. To reinforce its position, Meta has invested over $21 billion in its Reality Labs division, dedicated to VR headset and software development.
Meta’s Cutting-Edge AI Tools and Digital Assistants
The newly introduced AI tools are driven by Meta’s Emu computer vision model. Zuckerberg likened this technology to a sibling of the company’s Llama family of language generation software. Emu’s capabilities include generating images in approximately five seconds, according to him.
Zuckerberg commented on the speed, stating, “My children insist that it’s not quite fast enough, but five seconds brings us to a level where we’re making significant progress.”
In the future, users will have the ability to automatically produce lifelike visuals within Meta’s chat applications, much like how individuals utilize the Midjourney AI app within the Discord messaging platform.
Meta’s newly unveiled AI digital assistant, known as Meta AI, shares similarities with ChatGPT in its ability to generate sophisticated responses to text-based queries.
To enhance its capabilities, this digital assistant has the capacity to tap into Microsoft’s Bing search engine, aiding in the compilation of responses to prompts that demand real-time information, as explained by Zuckerberg.
Meta has partnership, with various celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Mr. Beast, and Kendall Jenner to serve as the faces of digital characters. For instance, users can engage with a digital assistant named Lorena, portrayed by the celebrity Padma Lakshmi, to seek travel-related advice, with Lorena presumably offering insights specific to travel.
Alternatively, users can partake in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, guided by a narrator referred to as a dungeon master, portrayed by the rapper Snoop Dog.
Zuckerberg’s Vision and the Rising Role of AI in Smart Glasses
Zuckerberg stated that, in the future, users will have the capability to craft their own digital assistants. However, before making this feature widely accessible, the company intends to conduct initial testing with specific businesses.
The overarching vision is for individuals to engage with these AI-driven digital assistants within Meta’s forthcoming metaverse, a digital realm currently in the works and incurring substantial costs for Meta, with expenditures reaching billions of dollars per quarter.
This metaverse represents the company’s ambitious endeavor to construct the next-generation computing platform.
Though Zuckerberg remains fully committed to the metaverse, he has noticeably increased his emphasis on AI during this year’s Connect conference compared to previous editions.
He explained that the company’s AI investments are intricately intertwined with the establishment of the metaverse, as exemplified by its most recent collaboration with EssilorLuxottica on the latest Ray-Ban smart glasses.
These upcoming glasses, set to be priced at $299 upon their release on October 17th, feature integrated Meta AI software. This technology empowers users to identify landmarks or translate signs by simply gazing at various objects, highlighting the pivotal role of AI in advancing the metaverse’s foundation.
Prior to the recent wave of AI advancements in the past year, I held the belief that smart glasses would only achieve widespread adoption once we perfected elements like holograms and displays, areas in which we’re making substantial progress,” Zuckerberg expressed.
However, he has now shifted his perspective, stating, “I believe that the role of AI in this equation will be equally crucial,” emphasizing that AI significantly enhances the appeal and functionality of smart glasses.
In a bold move, Meta unveils a range of innovations. The Quest 3 VR headset promises advanced features, competing head-to-head with Apple. Meanwhile, their AI tools and digital assistants are set to reshape communication and gaming. Mark Zuckerberg emphasizes AI’s pivotal role, propelling Meta into the metaverse era.