The press has its knives out for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as the drip, drip, of continual criticism gives way to a torrent of savage mockery.
It’s not just the media that are taking aim at Zuck either. Wall Street analyst firm Bernstein has sounded the alarm on the Meta CEO’s renewed spending, in a pithy review.
Just 18 months ago, Mark Zuckerberg was so in love with the metaverse he decided to rename his company after it. Displaying all the foresight of a tourist tattooing the name of a holiday romance on his chest, Zuckerberg renamed Facebook “Meta.”
That vacation is well and truly over. Zuckerberg has a new love interest in the form of artificial intelligence, prompting Wall Street analysts Bernstein to speculate on what Meta’s cover-up ink might look like.
“Keep an eye on Zuckerberg’s newfound love with all things AI,” warned Bernstein to investors in a research email, reports Insider.
“It seems that the year of efficiency is winding down (we made it to April) and a name change to MetAI (our best guess) is now possible.”
Behind the humor, some serious issues at Meta are being exposed. As Zuckerberg and team make huge cutbacks to the Meta workforce – 21,000 and counting – the expense of pivoting to AI now weighs heavy on investor minds.
It’s difficult for any firm to remain frugal when the new corporate strategy necessitates the purchase of huge numbers of Nvidia chips. As industry AI executive Emad Mostaque recently revealed, Meta used 2,048 A100 chips to train its own large language models.
Each chip costs around $10,000, explaining why Meta’s “Year of Efficiency” is being viewed with increased skepticism in some quarters.
The great team @MetaAI research used 2,048 80gb A100s for 5 months to train the LLaMa suite of language models
This is 7.4m A100 hours
The 4 final models took 1.8m A100 hours to train
This is 1/4 of the total time spent building this, there is a lot of testing, trial & error
— Emad (@EMostaque) April 22, 2023
Everyone mocks Mark
Zuckerberg’s flip-flopping and general indecisiveness has not gone unnoticed by the media, who are duly lining up to fire shots. Ben Marlow, chief city commentator for British daily broadsheet The Telegraph, is among those who didn’t miss.
Marlow writes that “Mark Zuckerberg’s one-man journey into the metaverse has been a complete disaster,” citing the founder’s “delusion” for its woes.
As for the hiring policy at Meta, which saw the firm balloon in size during lockdown, Marlow’s contempt could not be more clear.
“Somehow, it seems, none of the planet-sized brains of Silicon Valley thought to consider that the trend might at least partly be the result of the world’s population being locked up against its will.”
Meanwhile, Paul Kunert at The Register questions whether one particular employee at Meta is value for money.
“Meta boss and human person Mark Zuckerberg was paid a nominal $1 in salary again in 2022 and took home no bonuses, yet he cost the company tens of millions in compensation,” says Kunert.
If those assessments weren’t bad enough, the worst was yet to come.
In an excoriating summation of the Zuck’s strategic nous (or lack thereof), Maggie Harrison of Futurism points out that Zuck has found a “shiny new toy” in AI before rhetorically asking “what do you expect, an attention span?”
Harrison concludes that “the ghost of Zucko’s legless Horizon Worlds avatar will surely haunt its meat-smoking Dr. Frankenstein ’till the bitter end.”
If words are weapons, someone call an ambulance. Actually, just send the hearse.