Mark Zuckerberg kicks off Meta Connect conference with focus on virtual reality and AI

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicks off the tech giant's Connect developer conference, September 27, 2023, in Menlo Park, California
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicks off the tech giant's Connect developer conference, September 27, 2023, in Menlo Park, California Copyright Godofredo A. Vasquez/AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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The company's Connect conference is a two-day event focussed on Meta's artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) future.


Mark Zuckerberg emphasised virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) as he kicked off Meta's Connect conference this week.

The CEO of the technology giant previously known as Facebook unveiled a new version of its virtual reality headset, the Quest 3.

Zuckerberg said Meta wants to build "the future of human connection" where people interact with hologram versions of friends and where AI bots assist them.

"Soon the physical and digital will come together in what we call the metaverse," he said.

He also introduced an AI personal assistant that people can interact with on Meta's messaging apps and introduced the next version of the company's Ray Ban Stories smart glasses.

The glasses allow people to record videos, live stream, listen to music, and interact with AI assistants.

"Smart glasses are the ideal form factor for you to let an AI assistant see what you are seeing and hear what you are hearing," Zuckerberg said. The glasses are available for pre-order in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Virtual reality and AI transformation

Meta is in the midst of a corporate transformation that it says will take years to complete.

It wants to grow from a social platform provider to become dominant in the VR world called the metaverse, an emerging three-dimensional digital space.

The transformation, however, has been slower than expected and cost the company billions of dollars.

Meta’s main business remains advertising on its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram.

The company has cut 20,000 jobs since last November due to a fall in online advertising and uncertainty around the global economy.

AI, meanwhile, is part of the company's long-term vision.

Meta released Llama 2, the next generation of its AI large language model in the summer, and on Wednesday, it unveiled an AI image generator named Emu, which creates images based on prompts from users.

Much like tech peers Google and Microsoft, Meta has long had a big research team of computer scientists devoted to advancing AI technology.

But it’s been overshadowed as the release of ChatGPT sparked a rush to profit off of "generative AI" tools that can create new prose, images, and other media.

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