Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is set to inaugurate the company’s Connect developer conference with a strong focus on virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). The event is expected to unveil the next iteration of Meta’s virtual reality headset, the Quest 3, while also delving into AI chat-bots and various tools and features aimed at maintaining user engagement on Facebook and Instagram, particularly as competition with TikTok remains fierce.
Meta’s rebranding as Meta two years ago signaled a strategic shift towards the development of the metaverse and immersive technologies, such as AR and VR. The company is keen to advance in these areas as part of its long-term vision.
The primary challenge for Meta, according to Insider Intelligence analyst Yoram Wurmser, is to sustain user engagement. Efforts to achieve this include the introduction of AI-driven personalization, chat-bots, and other features designed to maintain user interest.
In light of challenges such as a decline in online advertising revenue and global economic uncertainties, Meta has undergone significant restructuring, cutting more than 20,000 jobs since November. Mark Zuckerberg has referred to 2023 as Meta’s “year of efficiency,” during which the company is streamlining its workforce while concentrating on recruiting technical experts, particularly in AI, to support its long-term goals. AI plays a central role in Meta’s vision for the metaverse.
During the summer, Meta launched the next generation of its AI large language model, known as Llama 2, and made it freely available for both research and commercial purposes. Similar to industry peers like Google and Microsoft, Meta has long maintained a substantial research team of computer scientists dedicated to advancing AI technology.
However, the release of ChatGPT and other “generative AI” tools has overshadowed Meta’s efforts in the AI space, sparking significant interest in technologies capable of generating new text, images, and media content.
Mark Zuckerberg previously mentioned that people can access Meta’s new AI models directly or through partnerships that make them available on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, in conjunction with Microsoft’s safety and content tools. This strategic collaboration underscores Meta’s commitment to leveraging AI for its vision of the metaverse’s future.