Meta Platforms Inc. is on the verge of releasing a tribe of artificial intelligence-powered chatbots that each have an individual persona, and if today’s report in the Financial Times is correct, one of those personas will sound something like Abraham Lincoln.
FT said it spoke to three people who have seen what’s going on inside Meta, and they each said Meta will release these personas across Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. One may talk in the style of Lincoln’s older English, while another, according to the report, will sound like a surfer – no doubt saying “dude” a lot.
It sounds a little over the top, but Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has had this planned for a while. In February this year, Zuckerberg said he would “turbocharge” the development of generative AI.
“We’re starting by pulling together a lot of the teams working on generative AI across the company into one group focused on building delightful experiences around this technology into all of our different products,” he said, adding that Meta will try and outshine other AI firms by building “creative and expressive tools” that will eventually have “different personas” and provide “futuristic experiences.”
These chatbots will be able to advise users across Meta’s various platforms. One will be a travel guru. Another will help with search options, but it seems Zuckerberg has built these bots to be fun, as much as anything else. This might be friendly AI, rather than AI such as ChatGPT, which is something of a workhorse. The bots, said the report, should be here this coming September.
This is something that Meta’s social media competitors don’t yet have, notably TikTok, which, while struggling to convince U.S. politicians is not a spying service for China’s Communist Party, has been busy taking Meta’s customers over the last few years.
A bunch of fun-sounding AI chatbots might just convince young folks to go back to Meta even as telling a chatbot your heart’s desires is data that Meta will use for its main source of revenue: advertising. It could be a win-win and certainly a more attractive proposition for investors than Zuckerberg putting all his eggs into the metaverse basket.
Meta hasn’t confirmed the multi-personality bots, but it sounds like they’re coming. The company said on an earnings call last week that it will tell all about its AI roadmap at the Connect developer conference in September.
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