WTF?! Meta tried lighting a fire for its newest concept – celebrity chatbots – but failed miserably. The crowd seemed unimpressed, and Mark Zuckerberg appeared embarrassed after his live demo of the tech. Like Meta's concept of the metaverse, these chatbots don't seem very well thought out and are clearly too early for primetime.
On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg announced a variety of "AI-based chatbots (below)." They feature the likenesses of several celebrities and influencers, including Tom Brady, Mr. Beast, Paris Hilton, Kendall Jenner, and Snoop Dogg. The trailer gives one the impression that the chatbots speak and act like their real-life counterparts, but that's not the case.
When Zuckerberg asked the crowd if they wanted to see a live demonstration, they enthusiastically applauded, anxious to see Snoop Dogg as "The Dungeon Master." However, all they saw was a chatbot not dissimilar to OpenAI's ChatGPT with an overlay of an artificially generated avatar of the rapper (above).
Snoop's head was at least animated, but that's about it. The bot didn't speak or interact in any meaningful way. All responses were text-based and sounded like a generic AI. Imagine taping a bust image of a celebrity in the corner of your monitor and then having a conversation in text with a chatbot, and that would be almost precisely what Meta AI chatbots do. The AI is not even trained by the celebs they represent.
After a few exchanges with the lame, non-speaking rap superstar, Zuckerberg stepped away from the podium and awkwardly said, "Okay, we return to the keynote at this point." His conclusion of the demo was met with a smattering of polite applause. A cut to the crowd showed almost nobody clapping. It was the ultimate cringe moment. You can't help be feel embarrassed for him (or maybe you can).
To be fair, Zuck said that the chatbots were in early development and would evolve in time. However, even if they were to get the chatbots to speak like the celebrities they portray, it is still a cringeworthy gimmick that I can't imagine too many people getting excited about. We'll have to see where Meta goes with the idea.
Meta currently has 28 of these Meta AI bots (powered by Llama 2) planned. Each one will have a different "specialty," which sometimes makes sense. For instance, Tom Brady is the "Sports Brain," handling any questions or discussions you might have about the world of sports. Chef Roy Choi is the "King of the Kitchen," doling out recipes and cooking advice at your request.
However, some alternate personalities make little sense or are even somewhat ironic. Tennis star Naomi Osaka is Tamika, the "Manga Master?" Why? Because she's Haitian/Japanese? Okay.
How about Paris Hilton as "Amber the Detective?"
"Not to brag, but I am a forensics expert," Paris says in the promo trailer. Huh? She doesn't even play one on TV.
The idea of celebrity chatbots might not be completely terrible. It might even be fun in Meta's VR Metaverse if you could talk to virtual celebrities who act and speak like their real-world counterparts. However, what Meta introduced yesterday does not seem like a concept thoroughly thought through. At the very least, it is way too early to start the hype train rolling.