I think we are all talking to our glasses now

A Tale of Two Lives: The Future of the Metaverse and the Future of AI Usage: A Conversation with Meta at Meta Connect 2023

He announced a number of new features powered by Meta AI tech, including AI chatbots that can help the user brainstorm a birthday party or an AI assistant users can bring into any chat on Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp. He said Meta would use that technology to improve the metaverse.

Meta has been trying to blend virtual and physical space for years. The speech was very different from what he presented in 2021. He promised that in the next decade, most people would spend their time on the internet in a fully immersive, 3D version. The keynote saw him donning a VR headset to meet his friends in space to play poker as a cartoon avatar. Playing up the wonder of datememe datememe datememe datememe showed cards and players in zero gravity.

“Pretty soon, I think we’re going to be at a point where you’re going to be there physically with some of your friends, and others will be there digitally as avatars or holograms, and they’ll feel just as present as everyone else. Or you’ll walk into a meeting and sit down at a table. There will be people who are there physically and people who are there digitally as holograms, but also sitting around the table with you are going to be a bunch of AI guys who are embodied as holograms and are helping you get different stuff done too,” he said.

At Meta Connect 2023, he just shifted how he talks about it, but he still hasn’t given up on the metaverse. He had once considered the metaverse a new world that was completely digital. Now, he aims to convince the public that the future is a blend of the digital and the physical.

It’s not clear, though, how many people would immediately associate chatbots with “the metaverse.” There are places where 3D worlds and AI intersect; Meta has mentioned that bots become characters in these worlds. But a lot of AI usage right now consists of typing prompts into a text box — it’s a distinctly non-embodied interaction. And right now, it’s where much of Meta’s enthusiasm seems to lie.

Many companies have abandoned the metaverse in the same way Meta has. After all, it’s right there in the name. But fortunately for it, the metaverse has always been a slippery term. Is it something related to virtual reality? Is it computer aided? Is it video games? The best answer might be that whatever Meta does is the metaverse, by definition — at least for Mark Zuckerberg.

Khari Johnson: AI Arms Race on Meta Smart Glasses, a Conversation with Lauren Goode (@snackfight)

We talk with Khari Johnson about the new Meta voice-controlled smart glasses, the new meta bot and where the company sits in the greatAI arms race.

Read Khari’s story about Meta’s many AI chatbots. Read Lauren’s story about the upcoming Meta Quest 3 headset and chatbot-enabled Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.

Khari Johnson can be found on social media @kharijohnson. Lauren Goode is also called Lauren Goode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The producer of the show is Boone Ashworth. Our music is by Solar Keys.

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Reality is Mixed: Zuckerberg’s Perspective on the Meta Quest 3 headset and Artificial Intelligence Strategy Launched during Meta Connect Summit

The answer came in Zuckerberg’s bifurcated presentation at the Meta Connect event this week. He still believes that reality is mixed. He started by formally announcing the Meta Quest 3, a $500 headset that is actually better than the $1,500 “Pro” helmet the company recently abandoned, not least because it can also provide a really good augmented reality experience. By the year 2020, every room we enter will have more holograms than physical objects thanks to a profusion of digital objects that will become layers into the physical world. After that bold prediction, he made an awkward pivot to Meta’s Artificial Intelligence efforts, which has left many consumers indifferent to one that no one can get enough of. The moment when the new AI strategy was unveiled was this. The idea is to use Meta’s large language models to create chatbot that will be injected into various social platforms.

Recently that messaging has shifted. I got a demo of the Quest 3 a couple of weeks ago. A bunch of product managers and execs talked for over an hour about the headset and the new applications. But there was not a single mention of any improved social experience. Since reports coming out of Meta have shown executives complaining that employees are avoiding the app, one might have expected the ground-up redesign of the app. When I asked about the omission, the executives hemmed and hawed. In this week’s keynote, social experiences hardly got mention.

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