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Zuck is refusing to give up on his $15-billion-a-year metaverse dream and insists AI will play a critical role in it

Mark Zuckerberg in the metaverse
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the metaverse.Facebook
  • Mark Zuckerberg has no intention of giving up on the metaverse.

  • The Meta chief told The Verge that the company was still investing heavily in it.

  • Zuckerberg also said he saw AI as critical to Meta's future products.

Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know Meta is not pivoting to AI.

In an interview with The Verge, the Meta CEO said the company was still focused on the metaverse despite recent AI investments.

"I don't know how to more unequivocally state that we're continuing to focus on Reality Labs and the metaverse," he told The Verge's Alex Heath, adding the company was still pouring more than $15 billion a year into the project.

Zuckerberg said he saw AI as critical to Meta's hardware products, such as Meta's Ray-Ban smart glasses, in the future. He also said he thought AI had the potential to generate virtual worlds and artificial characters to exist in these spaces.

Meta has been heavily pushing generative AI development internally since the launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT, and the company launched several new AI-powered products last year.

Zuckerberg also told The Verge the company had one eye on developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) and potentially open-sourcing it. Meta's mostly open-source large language model, Llama 2, was released last July.

Representatives for Zuckerberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

Another Meta executive, Nicola Mendelsohn, also defended the investments this week.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Mendelsohn, who is Meta's global business group head, said the company was still investing significantly in the metaverse, adding it would take a "good decade to get to that fully realized vision."

A previous BI analysis of regulatory filings found that the tech giant has lost a cumulative $47 billion in its metaverse-focused Reality Labs division since 2019.

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