Meta Connect is an annual event conducted by Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg every year to give public updates. The event highlights the latest news and updates, and how the company is progressing for an advanced future. The first day of the event was held in Menlo Park, CA on 27th September 2023 and the second day will be conducted on 28th. Through the advancements in AI, many companies have evolved while OpenAI has been leading the Chatbot, conversational AI and AI image generation race followed by Google and other competitors including Midjourney and Stability AI. Meta was behind the race but Connect showed a promising future for the company. Zuckerberg unveiled a number of futuristic developments in terms of digital assistants, smart glasses, Chatbot and AI image generation.
OpenAI has taken the lead in the AI chatbot race by introducing ChatGPT in 2021. Further, the software was advanced with updates in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Meta confessed that it knew that it was behind in the race but no more. With the Meta AI chatbot, Zuckerberg confirmed integration with existing apps of Meta – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Now users will be able to chat with virtual assistants in their favorite apps. Moreover, a new ‘personality’ feature is introduced in Meta AI which will allow the digital assistant to assume the role of personalities. For this, Meta has been endorsed and partnered with celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton and Mr. Beast representing digital characters. These assistants are particular to their niche. If you want information about fashion, Kendall Jenner ‘personality’ will answer the questions.
In the future, Meta has hinted that users will be able to create their own preferred digital assistants with personalities of their liking. They will be able to design avatars with specific traits that answer questions – a major breakthrough in the world of AI. But that is not all, Meta has also unveiled AI image generation tool and Ray Ban smart glasses that all will link up to create something special.
Expressive Media Universe (EMU) – AI Image Generation
Midjourney, Dall-E and Stability AI have gained immense popularity. A revolution in AI, these tools allow users to input a text prompt and as a result, a desired image is generated. This text-to-image AI generative tool has become quite popular worldwide. Although initially in the development stage, the world has seen the potential these tools carry. Meta came late into the race but it has announced its own AI image generation tool – the EMU. An abbreviation of Expressive Media Universe, EMU has been trained on a large dataset of 1.1 billion text-image pairs. But currently, in beta and testing, only 2,000 high-quality images are carefully selected to give results. Meta has been developing all of this to integrate it all into the concept of Metaverse.
These images are unique in their own and provide the most accurate, high-res and unique image for whatever the prompt may be. This limited selection of “photogenic needles in a haystack” unexpectedly demonstrated its effectiveness in assisting the AI system in generating images that followed the principles of professional photography, including aspects like composition, lighting, color, and focus. Quality is the unprecedented focus of Meta for their AI image generation model and it seems successful. However, the breakthrough announced by Meta was the feature of generating custom stickers. Users in WhatsApp can create custom stickers by just inputting a text command on the stickers tab. Imagine this – the power to create your own stickers by just using a few words. The feature will roll out next month and we will see what it is capable of actually.
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses and Quest 3
Meta’s vision to combine fashion with tech is being fulfilled through two devices in a series. The Meta Quest 3 and Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses. Quest 2 was just a virtual and augmented reality headset introduced by Meta for gaming and an immersive experience with the world. However, Quest 3 takes the game one step forward. It is a mixed-reality headset which takes a leap from the world of video gaming and integrates into the concept of Metaverse. Although Metaverse is cool and all, what if you could interact with things around you while still wearing the headset. It allows you to explore the real world and see what’s happening around you. Quest 3 will also be integrated with the latest AI allowing you another touchpoint with Meta and the Metaverse.
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have also been integrated with AI. With the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1, you can now live stream on social networks, capture videos, and use apps without touching your phone. Earlier versions would only allow you to listen to music or take photos. The glasses also include integration of hologram allowing you to interact with holographic images of your friends and family. Ray-Ban Meta Glasses are embedded with a 12 MP camera allowing panoramic photo/video capture. Users would be able to make calls, receive, and send WhatsApp messages without having to access their phones. Although still much to explore, this is a significant development of Meta into the future – the Metaverse.
The AI and Metaverse
Zuckerberg has clearly stated that all the progress and developments Meta has been making are for one cause – the Metaverse. Although not fully explored, the tech giant believes that Metaverse will be the future. The next-generation computing platform (not built yet) is costing the company billions of dollars a quarter. However, the company has still been making significant investments in the development of tools and AI – all of which will be integrated into the Metaverse. The avatars you create, the stickers you make, the digital assistants, real people; everything will be present in the Metaverse so you can live the experience rather than only see it through a screen.
This year’s Meta Connect was all about AI and Metaverse which is a huge leap towards the future. Although Meta came late to the race, it has been significant in its development. The integration of AI in WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook will be a huge advantage in the race and might decide the future of the company. All of the updates will be rolled out in October, next month, and then we will see the performance. As of now, Meta’s stock has risen by 1.20% since it announced its arrival into the AI world. What lies ahead? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more updates at Design Vikings as we journey you through the world of AI. Let’s see what’s in the store for us!