Meta has made a significant splash at its annual Connect conference by introducing a slew of new AI-powered features and products. These innovations are set to enhance user experiences across its messaging platforms, the Meta Quest 3, and the upcoming Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses. Harnessing the capabilities of generative AI, these additions promise to make Meta's technology even more engaging and versatile.
In Meta's own words, these AI-powered offerings are designed to empower users, enabling them to be more creative, expressive, and productive. These announcements come alongside the launch of Meta's new mixed-reality headset and its collaboration with Ray-Ban to bring smart glasses to the market.
All these AI advancements are built on the foundation of Llama 2, Meta's latest family of open-access AI models, which was introduced in July. These models are designed to generate text and code in response to user prompts, and they are trained on a diverse range of publicly available data. Notably, Meta has hinted at the upcoming release of Llama 3 in 2024.
One of the most exciting developments is Meta's introduction of Emu, a powerful image generator that will fuel AI stickers and image editing features. Let's delve into the various AI innovations that Meta is set to offer.
AI Assistant, Enhanced by Bing Integration
Meta's AI Assistant is a game-changer, providing real-time information and generating photorealistic images from text prompts in seconds. This versatile assistant can help you plan group trips, answer general knowledge queries, and tap into the vast knowledge base of Microsoft's Bing for real-time web results.
This AI Assistant is trained on Llama 2 with specialized datasets designed to make interactions feel natural and friendly. Meta has also introduced an orchestrator that can understand user intent and direct prompts accordingly. The initial extension for the AI Assistant will be a web search, powered by Bing, ensuring access to the latest information.
Initially available in beta on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram in the U.S., this AI Assistant will soon make its way to the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3 VR headset.
AI Personality Chatbots Modeled After Celebrities
Meta has introduced 28 AI personality characters inspired by famous individuals but entirely generated by AI. These chatbots, tailored to specific topics, are accessible on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. Each personality is based on a notable figure, like football star Tom Brady or tennis player Naomi Osaka, allowing users to engage in unique conversations.
While these AIs are primarily built on the Llama 2 model and their knowledge bases are currently limited to pre-2023 information, Meta intends to integrate its Bing search functionality into these chatbots shortly. Interestingly, these personalities will eventually have voice capabilities, but they rely on AI-generated animations for video interactions.
AI Studio Empowering Businesses and Creators
Meta's AI Studio platform is poised to transform how businesses and creators engage with AI. This platform enables companies to build AI chatbots tailored to their brand's values, enhancing customer service across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Initially, this feature will target e-commerce and customer support use cases, with plans for further scaling.
Additionally, creators will gain access to AI Studio to expand their virtual presence across Meta's apps, provided that they maintain control and sanction these AIs. In the coming year, Meta plans to introduce a sandbox for anyone interested in experimenting with creating their AI.
AI Stickers Enhanced by Emu
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the arrival of generative AI stickers for Meta's messaging apps. Powered by the Emu model, these stickers allow users to create unique, personalized AI stickers rapidly. Users can specify their desired image in a text prompt, and the AI will generate multiple options within seconds.
Initially available to English-language users, this feature will gradually roll out across Meta apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories.
AI-Powered Image Editing: Restyle and Backdrop
Meta is set to introduce two AI-powered image editing features called "Restyle" and "Backdrop" for Instagram users in the U.S. These features, driven by Emu technology, allow users to transform and co-create images effortlessly.
With "Restyle," users can reimagine the visual style of an image by entering prompts like "watercolor" or more detailed instructions, such as "collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges." Meanwhile, "Backdrop" lets users change the background or scene of their images using prompts.
To ensure transparency, Meta will mark AI-generated images to prevent confusion with human-generated content. The company is also exploring visible and invisible markers for additional safety measures.
Meta's Commitment to Safety
Meta acknowledges the potential pitfalls of AI-powered interactions and has invested significant effort into training its AI assistant and chatbot characters to avoid inaccuracies or inappropriate responses. Through extensive red-teaming and continuous refinement, Meta aims to provide safe and reliable AI interactions. The company also plans to release system cards alongside its AIs to offer transparency into their inner workings and development processes.