Meta ups the ante on AI use for social media

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 28 Sept 2023
Meta’s Quest 3 mixed reality headset hits shelves on 10 October.
Meta’s Quest 3 mixed reality headset hits shelves on 10 October.

Facebook parent company Meta yesterday made a slew of artificial intelligence (AI) announcements, as it looks to dominate the bourgeoning market.

During its Meta Connect 2023 event, the social media company also unveiled other products, such as smart glasses and mixed virtual reality headsets.

According to Meta, AI is enabling new forms of connection and expression, thanks to the power of generative technologies.

The firm introduced new AI stickers that enable users to generate customised stickers for chats and stories.

“Using technology from Llama 2 and our foundational model for image generation called Emu, our AI tool turns your text prompts into multiple unique, high-quality stickers in seconds,” says the company in a statement.

It explains that this new feature, which is rolling out to select English-language users over the next month in WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and Facebook Stories, provides more options to convey how users are feeling at any moment.

Meta also announced a new AI-based image editing tool, saying soon, users will be able to transform images or even co-create AI-generated images with friends.

Restyle and backdrop – two new features that are coming soon to Instagram – use the technology from Emu. Backdrop also leverages learnings from Meta’s Segment Anything Model.

“Restyle lets you reimagine your images by applying the visual styles you describe. Think of typing a descriptor like ‘watercolour’ or a more detailed prompt like ‘collage from magazines and newspapers, torn edges’ to describe the new look and feel of the image you want to create.”

Meta explains that backdrop changes the scene or background of an image. Prompts like “put me in front of a sublime aurora borealis” or “surrounded by puppies” will cue the tool to create an image of the primary subject in the foreground with the background the user described.

The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are optimised for a hands-free, on-the-go experience.
The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are optimised for a hands-free, on-the-go experience.

The firm also rolled out Meta AI, a new assistant users can interact with like a person, available on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and coming soon to Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and Quest 3 mixed reality headsets.

“Our journey with AIs is just beginning, and it isn’t purely about building AIs that only answer questions.

“We’ve been creating AIs that have more personality, opinions and interests, and are a bit more fun to interact with. Along with Meta AI, there are 28 more AIs that you can message on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.”

In partnership with EssilorLuxottica, Meta also introduced its next-generation Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses collection.

It explains that Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses free users from the constraints of a hand-held camera. “Instead of keeping the world at arm’s length (or worse, missing out on the action completely as you struggle with your smartphone’s lock screen), Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses let you snap a photo or video clip from your unique point of view – allowing you to not only relive the moment, but really live in the moment, too.”

The firm integrated Meta AI, the conversational assistant, on Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and optimised it for a hands-free, on-the-go experience.

At the event, Meta also unboxed its Quest 3 mixed reality headset, which hits shelves on 10 October. It says the world’s first mass-market mixed reality headset starts at $499.99 for the 128GB version and $649.99 for the 512GB version.