Mark Zuckerberg at Meta/Reuters Annual Conference
At Meta's annual Connect (Facebook) conference held Wednesday night in San Francisco, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg presented the company's latest innovations in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality. In his remarks, he illustrated how AI and metaverse technologies are reshaping the way people experience the physical and digital worlds, and how it is the combination of the physical and digital worlds that defines our reality.
Many of the basic technologies needed to make this vision a reality are already here or on the horizon: mixed reality (MR) allows us to bring digital objects into the physical world and create immersive experiences; Advances in AI allow us to create unique characters with whom we can have different interactions; And future AR glasses will eventually bring these technologies together in one stylish product. Last night, as part of the Connect conference, Zuckerberg shared Meta's progress on all three of these fronts:
Zuckerberg illustrated how AI and the metaverse are reshaping the way people experience the physical and digital worlds/Reuters
Among the many innovations, the tech giant has introduced new artificial intelligence capabilities that will allow people to easily create custom stickers. Using technologies based on Llama 2 and EMU (Meta's model for creating images), the new AI tool will be able to produce a series of unique, high-quality stickers in seconds, based on text commands that people provide. The tool will launch next month on Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Facebook Stories – initially among select English-language people.
At the same time, Zuckerberg unveiled a new artificial intelligence capability that will allow people to edit and restyle their photos, and even create new ones together with friends. This is done through two new tools coming soon to Instagram: Restyle and Backdrop.
Restyle will allow people to visualize and redesign their images – by describing the desired style and applying it to the existing image. For example, you can instruct Instagram to change the photo to a "watercolor" style, or alternatively give a more detailed command such as "collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges" to describe the new look and feel of the photo.
With Backdrop, people can change the scene or background of their photo using text commands like "Position me in front of the Northern Lights" or "Surround me with dogs." Meta will flag every image created using these tools, indicating that it was created using AI — as part of the company's commitment to transparency about the content AI creates, and to reduce the likelihood that people will mistakenly think the content is created by a human
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Zuckerberg at the annual Meta/Reuters Connect conference
More innovations coming soon
A new personal assistant - Meta AI: Mark Zuckerberg also introduced Meta AI tonight, a personal assistant that you can talk to like a person, and is available on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and soon Ray-Ban smart glasses and Quest 3. In text-based chats, Meta AI will have access to real-time information from the internet through the company's search partnership with search engine Bing, which will also offer an image creation tool. For example, a group of friends is in a group chat debating different hiking routes. Meta's personal assistant will be able to suggest various options directly in the chat, so the group can make a decision. In addition, Meta AI can also help commemorate and remember the event afterwards: you can type "@MetaAI /imagine" followed by a text command, creating a badge as a souvenir for chat members to use.
Artificial intelligence with expertise in a variety of content worlds: In addition, Meta yesterday introduced a series of AI agents that provide not only questions and answers – but also opinions, deep understanding of certain areas of interest, and a fun engagement experience. Meta has teamed up with leading figures and prominent influencers to embody AI-based characters with an understanding of different content worlds, with whom it will be possible to have more in-depth conversations compared to Meta AI in the various applications (Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger).
Glasses and mixed reality helmet
As expected, Meta has unveiled two new models in its wearable product series - the Quest 3 helmet and Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. Over the past few years, Quest 2 has proven to be a success and has turned the VR world into the product of the market. Quest 3 is the sequel, with a major change and the addition of mixed reality (MR) experiences. With the Quest 3 helmet, people will be able to play immersive games or incorporate virtual elements into their physical environment to transform it; Or, for example, playing a virtual piano on their coffee table, and practicing alongside a virtual trainer. In fact, Quest 3 will bring mixed reality experiences for the first time – and will set the baseline for all VR headsets going forward.
On top of that, the Quest 3 has more processing power, increased resolution, innovative optics, and redesigned control centers. It includes more color cameras and new accessories – making it Meta's most advanced technology yet.
Quest 3/Reuters helmet
Ray-Ban Stories include an enhancement to all core first-generation features, and the addition of new AI capabilities never before seen in smart glasses. One of them is a personal AI assistant that is available for the first time in smart glasses. This will allow people to ask for answers to questions, get suggestions on the go, and also take action using only voice commands (e.g., "Hey Meta, what should I say to my best friend when I'm late for dinner?"; "Can we make it funnier?"; "Okay, send it to John"; "Hey Meta, how do I wash paint off the walls?"; "Hey Meta, send a picture to Grandpa")
Zuckerberg unveils the smart glasses, Ray-Ban Stories/Reuters
In addition, Ray-Ban Stories features significant improvements in audio capabilities, including new speakers, higher maximum volume (50% higher than the first generation), and sophisticated listening qualities for calls, music and podcasts – even in noisy environments. In addition, the glasses include a new array of five microphones to support immersive audio recording that can record sounds as they were originally experienced, including the direction they came from. In addition to the ability to document one's personal perspective through glasses and upload photos and videos to Facebook and Instagram, the new generation of smart glasses will also allow people to upload live broadcasts directly to Facebook and Instagram. The new glasses include a 12-megapixel camera and a charging case that allows up to 8 charges of the device (36 hours of use).
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