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Meta is working on 'AI personas' for Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp

The company is also creating a team devoted to generative AI.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Meta is joining Google, Microsoft and other big names in throwing its weight behind ChatGPT-style AI. Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that his company plans to develop "AI personas" in the long term. It's currently investigating helpers for multiple media formats. You could see advanced chat features in Messenger and WhatsApp, or unique Instagram filters and ads. Video and "multi-modal" content could also benefit, Zuckerberg says. In the near future, you'll see an emphasis on tools for creation and expression.

The social media giant is also pooling its generative AI teams into a single group to help "turbocharge" efforts in the emerging field, the executive adds. He doesn't provide more details, and cautions that there's a "lot of foundational work to do" before the most advanced projects come to fruition.

The company isn't new to some level of user-facing AI. It introduced chatbots to Messenger in 2016, for example. This represents a significant expansion, however, and isn't surprising given the industry's growing focus on generative AI. Internet behemoths like Google reportedly feel competitive pressure from OpenAI's ChatGPT, as it could theoretically undermine search and other key businesses. Zuckerberg said during Meta's latest earnings call that he wanted the firm to be a "leader" in generative AI, but this may also represent a defensive tool.

The shift doesn't come at a great moment, however. Meta's revenues are still shrinking, and its pivot to the metaverse is costing billions of dollars at its Reality Labs unit. It recently slashed over 11,000 jobs to cut costs and weather a rough economy. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to gain users, the company isn't as stable as it once was.