Forward-looking: Meta plans to jump on the generative AI bandwagon in an attempt to boost engagement with its social media platforms - but with a slight twist. The tech giant is reportedly going to launch a range of bots that feature different personas, including one that imitates the personality of Abraham Lincoln.
According to a report in The Financial Times, Meta's chatbots' main purpose will be to provide a new search function and offer recommendations. That's something many chatbots do, but Meta's versions will offer what the company hopes will be a fun feature: varying personas. In addition to Lincoln, there will also be one that gives travel advice in the style of a surfer.
Experts told the FT that the chatbots could also collect a slew of data related to users' interests, helping the company improve its targeted advertising. That's obviously not going to appeal to people, given Meta's history. The firm is paying users $725 million for privacy violations relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. You can see how to claim your share here.
Meta won't be the first company to use AI-powered chatbots with personalities. Character.ai does the same thing, offering users the chance to converse with a simulated Elon Musk, Hamlet, Mario, and more. You can even create your own character.
Back in February, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is building a new top-level product group that will focus on implementing generative AI into its services, enabling "delightful experiences" for users, which now sounds like he was talking about the chatbots.
During Meta's recent earnings call for the second quarter – its most successful since 2021 - Zuckerberg mentioned that AI-powered recommendations have helped Reels attract 200 billion views per day across Facebook and Instagram.
The rise of generative AI has seen the one-time tech industry buzzword, the metaverse, pushed into the background this year. Reality Labs, the division responsible for Meta's VR/AR ambitions, lost another $13.7 billion in Q2, bringing its total losses since 2020 to over $40 billion. Zuckerberg is undeterred, of course, and believes the two technologies could synergize to produce an avatar chatbot in the metaverse. "Zuckerberg is spending all his energy and time on ideating about this," said one person familiar with the matter.