Generative AI brings a fresh era of connectivity

Meta has announced a range of new AI-powered products, which are being released across apps, Meta Quest 3, and the future Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses

Generative technologies are ushering in a fresh era of connectivity and self-expression. Many of the world’s biggest and most well known companies, including Meta, Google, and Apple, are delving further and further into the AI space, making the technology a conscious part of their business practices.

Recently, Microsoft announced its new Microsoft Copilot, which aims to use AI to help transform global businesses via efficiency and ease of use, and new research has gone on to explore the four types of ‘digital humans’ that we can expect to interact with in the near future.

This year as part of its annual Connect event, it was Meta’s turn to unveil a new range of AI experiences and features that are aimed at enriching relationships and connections with others. These innovations will provide users with the means to amplify creativity, self-expression, and productivity, through the power of generative AI technologies. 

Chatbots and conversational AI is on the rise

The rise of conversational AI assistants and chatbots has skyrocketed over the past few years, with the global chatbot market expected to reach around US$1.25bn by 2025. Although this may represent only a fraction of the global AI market, which is predicted to grow to US$118.6 billion in the same period, the nature of human beings means we can expect significant growth in the conversational AI (CAI) space.

This equates to some truly exciting times ahead for companies like Meta, which have embarked on this innovative AI journey. One of its announcements focused on the introduction of AI stickers, which heralds a new era, making communication even more fun and creative for its users. By using technology from Llama 2 and Meta’s foundational model for image generation called Emu, the AI tool will be able to turn text prompts into multiple unique, high-quality stickers in seconds, and will be available to select English-language users on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Stories over the next month.

Another saw Meta’s groundbreaking AI editing tools, Restyle and Backdrop, promise to revolutionise the creative experience. Restyle will allow users to transform their images by implementing the visual aesthetics specified. Imagine inputting a description such as "watercolour" or a more comprehensive directive such as "create a collage using newspaper clippings with torn edges" to articulate the desired transformation for the image. 

While Backdrop will be able to modify the setting or backdrop of an image. Phrases like "position me against a magnificent aurora borealis" or "encircled by playful puppies" instruct the tool to craft an image where the main subject is in the foreground against the specified background that has been described.

But that's just the beginning. In beta, Meta is proud to unveil Meta AI, an advanced conversational assistant accessible on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, and soon to be integrated with Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3. This cutting-edge technology provides real-time information and can effortlessly generate photorealistic images from text prompts, perfect for sharing with friends. (This will only be available in the U.S).

The company’s commitment to diversity even extends to its AI line-up, with 28 unique beta AIs, each with its own distinct interests, personalities, and unique backstories. Some of these digital companions are portrayed by iconic cultural figures and influencers, including Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady, and Kendall Jenner.

Although it is early days for Meta’s AIs, the company is committed to building responsibly and safety, ensuring its commitment to testing and evolving the capabilities of the AIs, and over time will improve the experience through users' interactions with them. Looking ahead, Meta plans to make AIs accessible for businesses and creators while also empowering individuals and developers to craft their own AIs with its AI studio. 

As the company embarks on this transformative journey, Meta remains mindful of the challenges it could bring, therefore by introducing its new AIs incrementally, complete with build in robust safeguards, Meta will ensure a secure and responsible AI-powered future.

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