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Every tech company in existence is currently racing to cram as much AI into their product base as possible, so it’s not at all surprising that Meta’s annual Connect event was flush with such developments this year. In addition to a number of new VR and “metaverse”-adjacent products and features, Meta’s pale commander and chief, Mark Zuckerberg, also spilled the beans on a few new artificial intelligence integrations that will soon be available to users. Here’s a quick run down on everything that was announced at this year’s Connect event.
Emu, Meta’s new image generation model
So far, Meta has largely focused on AI text-generation, with its well-known Llama algorithms. But the company clearly wants to also be competitive with visual-creation platforms like OpenAI’s DALL-E or Midjourney’s popular (but, also, potentially liable) image generator. On Wednesday, the company announced new image-generation capabilities for Meta’s platforms, powered by its new Emu algorithm (which stands for “expressive media universe”). Meta says that Emu will allow users to create AI-generated customized stickers, which can be integrated into conversation threads across the company’s platforms. With the upcoming features, users will be able to give a verbal command (“make a sticker of a dog riding a horse”) and Emu will generate it and include it in your messaging conversation. The feature, which will be rolled out to select English-language users during the next month, will be available in WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories, the company says.
Celebrities as AI bots
Another weird feature that was announced Wednesday was a host of new AI bots. These bots, some of which are represented by celebrities, are designed to swiftly answer questions or give helpful suggestions, based on different contexts. So, for instance, if you want to talk to an AI chatbot about sports you can talk to “Bru,” aka the AI avatar of Tom Brady. Then there’s “Max,” aka famed Korean chef Roy Choi, who is available to give you cooking tips and advice. And then if, for some reason, you want to play Dungeons and Dragons on one of Meta’s platforms, you can chat with AI Snoop Dogg, who has been appointed as Meta’s resident “Dungeon Master.”
Another feature that Meta announced is an AI studio, which can be used by businesses to create their own AI applications and chatbots. Meta says the studio will allow businesses to “create AIs that reflect their brand’s values and improve customer service experiences,” but will also be available to professional coders and amateurs who want to toy around with creating their own chatbots and applications. “From small businesses looking to scale to large brands wanting to enhance communications, AIs can help businesses engage with their customers across our apps,” the company writes. “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.”