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Facebook parent company introduces virtual assistant Meta AI

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 28, 2023 2:26 pm

Meta has finally released its own virtual assistant that allows users to interact with it like they would with a person.

During the Connect 2023 event, Facebook's parent company said Meta AI is available on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and soon to a smart glasses collaboration with Ray-Ban and virtual reality headset Quest 3.

Meta AI has access to real-time information through Microsoft's search engine Bing and is powered by a custom model from Meta's large language model, Llama 2.

Aside from answering queries, there will also be new 28 AI characters, embodied by cultural icons and influencers, with their respective profiles on Facebook and Instagram.

They include rap icon Snoop Dogg as Dungeon Master, football star Tom Brady as Bru, philanthropist MrBeast as Zach, model Kendall Jenner as Billie, and tennis star Naomi Osaka as Tamika, and more.

Additionally, Meta is also introducing AI image editing features on Instagram, namely restyle and backdrop.

Restyle allows users to reimagine images with visual styles they describe in prompts, like "watercolor" or "collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges."

Backdrop, meanwhile, changes the scene or background through prompts like, “Put me in front of a sublime aurora borealis” or “Surrounded by puppies."

Meta noted that images created with restyle and backdrop will indicate the use of AI "to reduce the chances of people mistaking them for human-generated content." It said it's also experimenting with forms of visible and invisible markers.

There are also AI stickers that can be used in chats or stories, Meta said, which come from text prompts.

Meta assured users that while it's continuing to test and evolve the capabilities of AI, it's committed "to building responsibly with safety in mind."

AI platforms have already been a cause for concern, especially in the academe where some students allegedly use them to write papers and answer exams.

In Geneva, Switzerland, dozens of educators in a teaching workshop sounded the alarm over ChatGPT "upending the world of education as we know it."

Economists from Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank, also predicted that AI platforms like ChatGPT could affect 300,000 million full-time jobs around the world, saying 18% of work globally could be computerized.

AI has also been criticized for generating artworks and even fake, misleading images, like that of Pope Francis wearing a puffer jacket.