It hardly seems that long ago when Mark Zuckerberg famously released his plans for the Metaverse. But, back in the Fall of 2021, he rebranded Facebook to Meta and shared his vision of a cartoon-like future, where everything from shopping to meetings would occur in a virtual world. In the year since, Meta has spent billions of dollars and assigned thousands of employees to make Mr. Zuckerberg’s dream feasible. Now, he announced plans to launch AI-Powered “Personas” or chatbots with distinct personalities.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Meta said it plans to integrate AI-powered “personas” into Facebook and Instagram as soon as next month, giving users a new way to search, get recommendations, and otherwise engage with its products.
Citing conversations with company insiders, the FT reports the chatbots could come with distinct personalities, including one that offers travel recommendations “in the style of a surfer” and another that speaks like Abraham Lincoln.
With the conversational AI market size expected to grow from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $13.9 billion by 2025, it’s a wise move to focus the company’s efforts on these tools to increase engagement across Facebook and Instagram. This could also mark a slight shift in the company’s metaverse plans into more practical uses of AI-generated personalities.
Zuckerberg has been open about his plans to build “AI personas” into the company’s products. In February he announced the creation of a new product group focused on generative AI. The CEO stated:
“Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways. We’re exploring experiences with text (like chat in WhatsApp and Messenger), with images (like creative Instagram filters and ad formats), and with video and multi-modal experiences. We’re exploring experiences with text… with images… and with video and multi-modal experiences.”Mark Zuckerberg,
In early June, app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi noted a new “Chat with an AI” feature in the Instagram app that could answer questions and give advice in the style of 30 different AI personalities. The chatbot could also help users compose messages, according to the leak.
With more and more marketers utilizing AI-generated avatars in their marketing efforts, I imagine these “Personas” will receive a more positive response than his original Metaverse campaigns, especially given that these Personas will provide practical assistance to the social platforms’ users.
“You can imagine lots of ways that AI can help people connect and express themselves in our apps, creative tools that make it easier and more fun to share content, agents that act as assistance, coaches or that can help you interact with businesses and creators and more.”
Of course, the launch of these “Personas” is not entirely service driven. The more users engage with these chatbots, they more data Meta can capture about their interests for better ad targeting.
We will keep an eye on this launch and will let you know how customers are responding to a chatbot that sounds like Abraham Lincoln.
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