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Meta stays true to the metaverse

The US social media giant is rolling out a range of AI capabilities on its own devices and those of others as it continues to carve out a future in virtual worlds.

The US social media giant will release generative AI capabilities on its Quest 3 virtual reality headset and its Rayban smart sunglasses within months – with AI capabilities already available on its Rayban glasses in the US.

That feature works much like Siri and Alexa, allowing users to ask their glasses – via the verbal prompt “hey Meta” – questions about what they see in front of them and also control certain functions, such as the WhatsApp video. call function. These features will be made available in Australia later this year.

The introduction of AI capabilities in the Quest 3 comes as the company continues its journey into the metaverse – a term describing a virtual world accessible via VR headsets and computers.

While talk of the metaverse started in 2022 when major companies including JP Morgan spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plots of virtual land in certain games, including The Sandbox, the term has since been all but overshadowed by the rise of artificial intelligence.

Meta envisions a slightly different path to the metaverse than what was previously discussed when a company controlled what was called the game, the platform on which the metaverse was held, and sold blocks of land, tools, and accessories including clothing to users.

Visitors tested the Meta Quest 3 glasses at the Hannover technology fair in Germany last month. Image: AFP

The company is moving in a direction where AI allows users to generate different versions of themselves and other characters and change the metaverse itself and features in the game, including land or houses they may own.

Meta is still excited about the vision, while many others have dropped out or reduced spending and investment in platforms.

The Australian has previously reported on a number of unlikely industries that have found a home in the metaverse, including mining, as well as medical and security, which are using virtual reality headsets and gamified modules to conduct training.

As Meta rushes to catch up with the already popular large language models, it is not only testing the use of its Llama 3 large language model on its own mobile devices, but also on those of other manufacturers.

Last month it announced a partnership with Qualcomm, the maker of Snapdragon chips used in a number of smartphones. The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 processor is used in the Quest 3.

That partnership will allow manufacturers to make Llama 3 accessible on devices using Snapdragon platforms.

The social media giant released AI capabilities through Llama 3 in Australia last month, launching the feature on its social media stable of WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

Meta AI can answer questions, generate images and influence group chats when summoned via the four popular mobile apps. Embedding AI into its highly popular apps pits the platform against ChatGPT, in what some argue is a better position allowing millions of people to use generative AI features in apps they already spend hours on.

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