Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg this week hinted at the possibility of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into several of the company’s most popular platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
Speaking on an earnings call with investors following Meta’s latest quarterly report on Wednesday, Zuckerberg discussed the potential for the technology to transform the way users interact with these platforms, and suggested generative AI models could pave the way for exciting new tools and features.
Bringing AI to billions
The AI train has already left the station, but Zuckerberg is clearly keen to get on at the next available stop. On the call, he said there was an “opportunity to introduce AI agents to billions of people,” and talked up the possibility of integrations with Meta’s entire product suite.
Although the CEO did not dwell for long on specific implementations, he did mention that Instagram and Facebook could integrate AI-powered visual creation tools, and suggested AI could be useful for producing ads for business-minded users.
Visual-creation tools would theoretically enable users to leverage AI to create more engaging, dynamic content on their feeds, such as by providing automated suggestions for images, video clips, and other elements that enhance posts.
German-based artist Boris Eldagsen recently generated controversy by winning a major photography prize, then refusing it after admitting he’d created the work using AI. Might we see such fakery on Instagram and Facebook, with users neglecting to disclose whether images have been created with help from AI?
“I expect that these tools will be valuable for everyone from regular people to creators to businesses,” Zuckerberg predicted, going on to suggest Meta wanted to “nail the experience” of AI agents for business messaging and customer support – an innovation that predates the recent buzz around ChatGPT.
While AI agents have long been able to help users find information and answer questions, their capabilities were rather limited. However, recent advances suggest AI agents could soon provide a level of customer support more commonly associated with a human telephone operator.
More content, more advertisers
Far from pivoting away from the much-mooted metaverse, Zuckerberg sees the two technologies overlapping and interacting.
“Over time, this will extend to our work on the metaverse too, where people will much more easily be able to create avatars, objects, worlds, and code to tie all them together,” he said.
AI has already been integrated into Instagram in the form of AI-powered TikTok rival Reels, which has been credited with boosting time spent on the platform by 24%. Zuckerberg said over 20% of content users currently see on both Instagram and Facebook feeds is recommended by AI.
Perhaps the biggest giveaway of Meta’s overarching ambitions with AI was revealed by Zuckerberg’s comment that “Generative AI is going to help create more engaging experiences, which should create more engagement. And that by itself creates more opportunities for advertisers.”
Although Meta’s quarterly report shows metaverse division Reality Labs lost $4 billion, the company as a whole reported better-than-expected results, with revenues rising 3% year-over-year to $28.64 billion. Earnings also clocked in at $2.20 per share, outstripping Wall Street forecasts of $2.03.