Meta’s chief technology officer, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, firmly refutes claims that the company is lagging behind competitors like ChatGPT in the realm of generative artificial intelligence (AI). At the recent Connect conference for developers, Bosworth emphasized that Meta is at the forefront, asserting, “The majority of the world’s population will have their first experience of generative AI with us.” During the conference, Meta introduced AI-infused chatbots with distinct personalities and tools for creating visual and written content using spoken prompts. While Microsoft and Google are often seen as leaders in generative AI with extensive investments in the technology, Bosworth assured that Meta has been incorporating AI into its global platforms long before ChatGPT was publicly launched.
Bosworth highlighted Meta’s commitment to user-friendly tools that do not require extensive technical expertise. He acknowledged the existence of other compelling AI offerings, such as Stable Diffusion for generating images, but underscored that many of these platforms require significant time and specialized computer skills to master. In contrast, Meta aims to provide users with fast and impressive results, even on smartphones. Bosworth emphasized the simplicity of Meta’s technology, allowing users to effortlessly request images like a “hedgehog riding a bike” or “happy birthday to a marathon runner.” By prioritizing accessibility and ease of use, Meta distinguishes itself from competitors.
Meta has chosen a cautious approach when it comes to generative AI, releasing its own AI chatbot called “Galactica,” specializing in scientific research, two weeks before the launch of ChatGPT. Although Galactica had the ability to generate articles and solve mathematical problems, it occasionally produced fabricated answers. Meta quickly discontinued the tool, a decision that Bosworth regrets. He expressed that he would have preferred to retain Galactica, as Meta had already warned users about its chatbot’s potential to generate unpredictable responses. Meanwhile, Meta’s rivals continued to provide their AI products, even if they occasionally produced peculiar or unreliable outputs.
Considering the past controversies surrounding content moderation on Meta’s social media platforms, the company is inclined to prioritize safety when defining parameters for its own generative AI creations. While competitors were launching AI products, Meta concentrated on refining its in-house AI model and introduced Llama 2 as an open-source project earlier this year. This initiative allowed developers to experiment with Meta’s AI model and develop their own chatbots. As a veteran Facebook employee and leader in augmented and virtual reality innovation, Bosworth played a significant role in the company’s transformation into Meta. The rebranding reflects CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s belief in the metaverse as the future of computing platforms, sparking criticisms related to the company’s intentions and its commitment to user well-being.
Despite Meta’s substantial investment in its vision of the metaverse, the realization of this concept remains distant. Bosworth acknowledged that the adoption of Meta’s immersive social networking platform, Horizon Worlds, has been slower than anticipated. However, recent developments indicate progress. Bosworth humorously remarked that Meta should have added “legs sooner,” alluding to the addition of limbs to avatars within virtual worlds. At the Connect conference, Meta did not extensively discuss the metaverse but instead showcased products like Ray-Ban smart glasses, enabling users to livestream their perspectives. Meta’s focus on “mixed reality” devices, such as its VR headset, stems from the desire to merge digital elements with the user’s environment rather than fully immersing them in virtual realms. The upcoming Quest 3 headsets will offer the ability to transition between virtual reality and augmented reality seamlessly, though users will not be able to see each other’s eyes due to some technical limitations.
Anticipation within the tech community is high for Apple Vision Pro, slated to enter the market early next year with a substantial price tag of $3,500 in comparison to the Quest 3’s $500 price point. Bosworth confidently stated that there is nothing about Apple’s luxury-priced offering that Meta cannot develop.
Meta’s commitment to generative AI, user experience, and responsible deployment of AI technologies sets them apart in the industry. While competitors have made significant strides, Meta’s emphasis on simplicity, accessibility, and safety positions them as a leader in the field. With their ongoing investment in the metaverse and innovative products like Ray-Ban smart glasses and mixed reality devices, Meta continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of AI and immersive technologies.