AI was the name of the game at Meta’s Connect Conference — a la Google I/O 2023 — and the social media company did not disappoint with its newly-announced platform and offerings.
First among this is Meta AI, which Zuckerberg describes as your “basic assistant.” Based on Llama-2, it has access to real-time information and knowledge and can easily point you to search results. Users can ask questions or simply message it to settle debates, and will be worked on in the coming months. You would not be wrong if you describe it as a basic version of more advanced generative AI bots out there, who can answer in group chats as well.
Meta will also be bringing AI editing tools to Instagram next month via Emu (short for Expressive Media Universe), Zuckerberg said. Additionally, generative AI stickers are also making their way to messaging apps across the Meta social media realm. “Every day people send hundreds of millions of stickers to express things in chats,” said Zuckerberg. “And every chat is a little bit different and you want to express subtly different emotions. But today we only have a fixed number — but with Emu now you have the ability to just type in what you want,” he said.
On Instagram, the AI-powered photo editing will let users input a text prompt such as “watercolor,” “80’s punk,” or “magazine collage,” and the like, and the tool will updates the existing image based on those directions. The generated images will carry a watermark at the left-bottom corner to let users know that it has been created using AI (which would be useful in spotting fakes).
Furthermore, the company claims to be building a platform for creating AIs that users can use for a variety of purposes – whether it be to get things done or just have fun. These AIs will work across Meta’s various different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and will be opening up to developers and new use cases soon. Also, remember the Gen AI personas we had reported on earlier? Zuckerberg confirmed it, and showed some of them at the keynote. Max the Sous Chef can make suggestions on recipes, Lilly the personal editor AI can help you edit text, Viktor the fitness expert who can give you customized workouts – these are but some of them. And if this is not enough, there is also a Snoop Dogg Dungeon Master that will take you on a text-based adventure game. Zuckerberg announced that voice will be coming sometime later this year.
So much for playing around with these AIs, but what if you could build your own? Meta says it has accounted for this with AI Studio. Zuckerberg announced AI Studio for developers, much to the delight of the developer audience. For those who are not so adept with coding, Meta noted that there will be a sandbox for training AIs that will be coming early next year.
AI Studio, importantly, is also available to businesses. Starting with Messenger, AI Studio will let companies “create AIs that reflect their brand’s values and improve customer service experiences,” Meta said in a press release. “From small businesses looking to scale to large brands wanting to enhance communications, AIs can help businesses engage with their customers across our apps,” Meta wrote. “And for creators, they’ll be able to build AIs that extend their virtual presence across our apps. These AIs will have to be sanctioned by them and directly controlled by the creator.”