These chatbots are partly trained on our own social media posts, on Instagram and Facebook. Your words go into the gumbo that teaches it to speak, your posted pics inform Meta’s AI image generation.
Meta President of Global Affairs and former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg said the “vast majority” of information used is publicly available, as reported by Reuters. Your private messages are not fair game, even to Meta, thankfully.
Meta announced its next era of AI features at Meta Connect 2023, which took place on September 27-28. Here are all the updates you can expect to see on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook in the coming months.
Meta’s very own ChatGPT
Remember M? Meta’s short-lived digital helper never took off, but the success of ChatGPT has prompted it to try again.
Enter Meta AI: a new assistant that you’ll be able to message on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, and even talk to on Meta’s headset and eyewear.
If you’ve interacted with ChatGPT, you’ll know what to expect. You can ask the bot for help with recipe ideas, travel tips, or tell it to pen you a poem about a lonely AI in the style of Chaucer. Like ChatGPT, the mileage you get out of it will depend on your prompts. Meta is using its very own large-language model (Llama 2) to power the bot, which can also generate images and fetch up-to-date information using Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
A preview version of Meta AI will be available to select users in the US to start.
To add a dose of fun to proceedings, Meta is introducing AI chatbots with “personalities” to Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. A total of 28 personas are coming to the apps, many of which are embodied by real-life celebs.
Supermodel Kendall Jenner, rapper Snoop Dogg, tennis champ Naomi Osaka, and reality TV icon Paris Hilton are among the stars that have lent their likenesses to the bots. They’ll offer advice, tips, or help you kill time with conversations about cooking, DIY, fitness, and self-help and motivation.
The first set of characters is available to preview in the US now.
No more dull Instagram pics
Unless you’re a jet-setting influencer or celeb, you probably aren’t posting glamorous Instagram pics all the time. Soon, that won’t matter as you’ll be able to add AI-generated backdrops of cities and even animals to your posts.
Just type what you want to change in a photo and the AI will do the rest. You could tell it to swap out the inside of your room for a “sublime aurora borealis” or surround yourself with adorable puppies. You’ll also be able to change the visual style of your pic to look like a watercolour painting or a magazine cutout, much like you would on dedicated AI apps like Lensa or BeFake.
Both visual modes rely on Meta’s in-house AI tools, including its image-generator Emu and its object-recognition tech Segment Anything.
Facebook launched a similar art-effect feature for live video back in 2016 with little fanfare. Plugging generative AI into Instagram makes more sense, however, due to the scale of the app and the attention-grabbing nature of its algorithm.
To counter misinformation, Meta says it will label all AI-generated images, and is working on visible and invisible watermarks for the posts.
Although US users are first in line for most of the AI goodies, Brits will get to sample at least one new feature very soon. Over the next month, Meta will let you create custom stickers on its apps for your chats and stories. You can tell its AI to whip up all manner of quirky and cutesy icons to bombard your friends with. Think of things like a pizza playing basketball, a raccoon on a motorcycle, or a French bulldog on a cushion.
Build your own AI
Ultimately, Meta wants everyone to build their own AI chatbots and apps. At first, it’s making its AI-creation platform accessible for developers in the hopes of adding even more bots and services to Messenger and WhatsApp, including those created by businesses.
In the future, creators with large followings will also be able to use the tools to communicate with their fans. Finally, the public will get to play with AI in Meta’s sandbox at some point next year. As the company implied during its Connect event, the goal is to have loads of AI personas running around its virtual-reality playground.