Chatbots such as ChatGPT might one day be an important part of our everyday lives, and Facebook is facilitating that by building them into its chat apps, Messenger and WhatsApp.
In a post published on Monday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is creating a "new top-level product group (...) focused on generative AI."
The team will start by building "creative and expressive tools," but over the longer term, the focus will be on developing "AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways."
These personas will be built into Facebook's chat apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, but also photo apps like Instagram, as well as "video and multi-modal experiences."
Zuckerberg didn't share too many details about how these user experiences will actually work in real life, and he admits that there's a "lot of foundational work to do" before the company can actually build something compelling.
In other words, expect simpler AI-based features and tools first. Fully-fledged AI bots that can help you create the perfect Instagram filter or that can answer your questions on Messenger will come later.
It's worth noting that chatbots on Messenger have existed as early as 2016, but they had nothing close to the level of human-like conversation ChatGPT offers. Meta has also recently invested big in the Metaverse, a loosely-defined set of virtual reality and related technologies, which does include AI to some extent.
Facebook's initiative comes after the quick ascent of OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT to one of the most popular apps in the world. Microsoft, which is an investor in OpenAI, has moved fast to build ChatGPT's tech into its search engine, Bing; Snapchat has recently announced an AI chatbot of its own, and Google is working on several AI-related projects as well.
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