MENLO PARK, Calif. (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday rolled out new artificial intelligence products for consumers, including robots that create realistic images and smart glasses that answer questions, as well as a reality-enhancing headset. Default.
Zuckerberg described the products as combining the virtual and real worlds, and stressed that part of what Meta offered was low-cost or free artificial intelligence that could be integrated into daily routines. Meta’s Quest is a bestseller in the emerging virtual reality field, and company executives have described it as the best value in the industry, a nod to the imminent release of Apple’s pricey headset.
Speaking from a central courtyard on Meta’s sprawling campus in Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg said a new generation of Meta Ray-Ban (ESLX.PA) smart glasses will begin shipping on October 17, priced at $299.
The device will include a new Meta AI assistant and will be able to live stream what the user sees directly to Facebook and Instagram, an advancement over the previous generation’s ability to take photos.
Zuckerberg spoke at the Meta Connect conference, the social media company’s largest event of the year as well as its first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic.
He also said that the latest Quest mixed reality headset will start shipping on October 10 and will introduce the company’s first consumer-facing generative AI products. The latter includes a chatbot called Meta AI that can generate text responses and photo-realistic images.
“Sometimes we innovate by releasing something that has never been seen before,” Zuckerberg said. “But sometimes we innovate by taking something great, but very expensive, and making it affordable or even free.”
Meta AI will be integrated into smart glasses as an assistant, starting in beta in the US. A software update scheduled for next year would give Assistant the ability to identify places and things people see, as well as perform language translation.
Meta created Meta AI using a custom model based on the powerful Llama 2 language model that the company released for general commercial use in July. Zuckerberg said 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 head Nick Clegg said the company had taken steps to filter out private details from the data used to train the model and had also imposed restrictions on what the tool could generate, such as prohibiting the creation of photorealistic images. Of public figures.
“We tried to exclude data sets that contained a large percentage of personal information,” Clegg said, citing LinkedIn as an example of a website whose content was intentionally underutilized.
Custom AI robots
Meta also announced that it is building a platform that developers and everyday people alike can use to create their own custom AI bots, which will have profiles on Instagram and Facebook and will eventually appear as avatars in the metaverse.
To demonstrate the tool’s capabilities, Meta created a group of 28 chatbots with different personalities designed with the voices of celebrities like Charli D’Amelio, Snoop Dogg and Tom Brady, according to a company blog post.
The features appear to be aimed at improving existing apps and devices rather than developing new ad surfaces or other revenue streams.
“I don’t expect Meta’s AI products to be monetized for some time and I think it will end up being indirectly,” Bob O’Donnell said. “They seem more interested in helping develop a platform that other developers will use.” , Senior Analyst at TECHnalogy Research.
Zuckerberg also said on Wednesday that Xbox cloud gaming will be coming to Quest in December.
Meta first announced the Quest 3 headset over the summer, right around the time Apple debuted the Vision Pro headset, a high-end product priced at $3,500.
Starting at $500, the Quest 3 features the same mixed reality technology first showcased in Meta’s more expensive Quest Pro launched last year, which shows wearers a video feed of the real world around them.
Today’s announcements reflect how Zuckerberg plans to navigate this year’s shift in investor enthusiasm toward artificial intelligence from augmented and virtual reality technologies.
The stakes for this event were high, as investors last year criticized the parent company of Facebook and Instagram for spending heavily on the metaverse, prompting Zuckerberg to lay off tens of thousands of employees to continue funding his vision.
Developers have been watching to evaluate apps they might create for the latest Meta devices. Meanwhile, investors looked for signs of whether a gamble that has seen the company lose more than $40 billion since 2021 might pay off.
(Reporting by Katie Paul and Anna Tong in Menlo Park, California) Additional reporting by Yuvraj Malik, Pushkala Aripaka and Shashwat Awashti in Bengaluru (Editing by Kenneth Lee, Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis)
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