Meta offers preview of generative AI products for its Facebook and Instagram platforms

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s two priorities are incorporating AI into its varied products and the metaverse

Meta plans to introduce a tool for its platforms that will users to modify photos via text prompts. Reuters.
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Facebook owner Meta Platforms on Thursday gave employees a sneak peek at a series of artificial intelligence tools it is building, including chatbots ChatGPT-like chatbots planned for Messenger and WhatsApp that could converse using different personas.

Company executives also demonstrated a coming Instagram feature that can modify user photos via text prompts and another that can create emoji stickers for messaging services, according to a summary of the session provided by a Meta representative.

The showcase provided the first concrete indications of how the social media company is planning to make its own generative AI tools available to its 3.8 billion monthly users, months after competitors such as Google, Microsoft and Snapchat announced a rush of launches of such tools in their products.

Meta has yet to unveil any consumer-facing generative AI products, although it announced last month that it was working with a small group of advertisers to test tools that use AI to generate image backgrounds and variations of written copy for their advertising campaigns.

The company has also been reorganising its AI divisions and spending heavily to whip its infrastructure into shape, after determining early last year that it lacked the hardware and software capacity to support its AI product needs.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told employees at the session on Thursday that advancements in generative AI in the last year had now made it possible for the company to build the technology “into every single one of our products”.

In addition to the consumer-facing tools, executives at the meeting also announced a productivity assistant for employees called Metamate that can answer queries and perform tasks based on information gleaned from internal company systems.

Mr Zuckerberg told workers at the meeting that the company’s two priorities are incorporating AI into its varied products and the metaverse – the virtual reality platform that Zuckerberg believes is the far-off future of how people will connect online, according to the Meta representative.

It is a fraught time at Meta. Management jettisoned 10,000 employees in a drawn-out firing process that left the Menlo Park, California-based company without a tech road map and shook employee confidence in the direction for the business, sources have said.

Since announcing spending cuts and its AI focus in recent months, investors have flocked to the stock, which has more than doubled this year, closing at $264.58 Thursday in New York.

Mr Zuckerberg also encouraged employees to try new ideas at a generative AI “hackathon” the company is planning for July.

Generative AI, technology that creates text and images based on users prompts, has caught the attention of businesses across industries after the popular reaction to the wide release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.

Meta’s internal meeting was reported earlier by the New York Times.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: June 09, 2023, 4:23 AM