The rumours are true: Snoop Dogg’s an AI bot, and he’s wearing a cape! Zuckerberg, without a cape, kicked off last week's Meta Connect 2023 Keynote with bold announcements and grand visions of the Metaverse that’s to come.
The unveiling of the Quest 3 marks a significant stride towards merging the digital and physical realms and leaves us pondering over its endless cape-abilities – sorry!
Here's our scoop into the groundbreaking developments and what that means for us humans.
The unveiling of Quest 3
Dubbed the "first mainstream mixed reality headset" for only £479 (batteries not included; batteries not needed! Unlike Apple’s Vision Pro - with its belly pack strap - launching at a comparatively hefty £3k). The Quest 3 lends itself to being an incredible gaming device, as it boasts an impressive ten times the pixel count of Quest 2. “Throw a digital ball at a physical wall, and it’ll bounce off it,” says Zuckerberg. Exciting times ahead!
But its capabilities extend far beyond that. Its ability to map users' surroundings in real-time holds immense promise, and such advancements mean that users can now indulge in virtual collaborations / meetings, training simulations, education, design visualisation, virtual tourism, cultural experiences, and perhaps, I don’t know, some sort of immersive reading (check out Loomery’s very own ‘Storysight’ app for Vision Pro - 📖 👀 ). All in all, Quest 3 is a powerful device, with the potential to change the way we work, learn, and experience the world around us - we'll certainly be upgrading from our Quest 2!
Next up, MetaAI
Meta is rolling out a beta version of Meta AI, a sophisticated chat assistant. It’s a bit like a large language model such as ChatGPT, but crossed with a digital assistant like Siri or Alexa. Meta AI has access to real-time information and broader knowledge through a collaboration with Microsoft’s Bing search. Meta AI can also transform text inputs into lifelike images with the introduction of EMU (Expressive Media Universe), a super-quick and high-quality image generator. With the opportunity to rapidly produce quality visuals for areas like marketing, product prototyping, personalised user content, and data representation, businesses using MetaAI could potentially streamline their workflows, reduce time spent on design iterations, and enhance the decision-making processes. "More expressive, more connected, and more productive." - Thanks Meta.
There's an entertainment facet too. With partnerships featuring the likes of Kendall Jenner, Tom Brady, and the one and only Snoop Doggy Dogg, Meta has created a new cast of AI characters, played by celebrities, with “unique interests and personalities” that you can message across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. Stuck on ideas for dinner tonight? Why not ask Max, the sous chef (characterised by Roy Choi) for some suggestions? These AI characters offer fun experiences that reflect a wide array of interests from travel tips, to fashion advice and dungeon mastery (Snoop Dogg - of course!).
Meta is also focused on empowering everyone with the ability to create AIs. And to facilitate this, they've developed a building platform called AI Studio, for coders and non-coders outside of Meta. This platform will allow businesses of all sizes to embody their brand values and improve customer experiences, by creating their very own AI’s. With such tools, and a commitment to ethical AI development, Meta is paving the way for a widely accessible and influential AI-driven future. At Loomery, we're fans of any tech that helps more people make more stuff (have a read of co-founder Tim's article We’re all developers now: the no-code ‘revolution’ and why you should care).
Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
It was only a few weeks ago that I decided to have a look around the Ray-Ban store in Battersea Power station while waiting for the queue at Wagamama to go down. I thought I’d try on the Ray-Ban Stories collection and was impressed by the quality of the audio and touch control. But now, with the next-gen Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses embedded with AI and touted as the first of their kind, it appears I’m due for a re-visit.
These glasses aren't just about style or vision; they allow you to experience the world with state-of-the-art, hands-free Meta AI and the ability to live stream from the Ultra-wide 12MP camera. I’d say they’re pretttttty cool. However, it feels like these smart glasses and Quest 3 are essentially two experiments for AR devices with different interaction models, and I suspect the two things may converge over time. The dream is a pair of Ray-Bans where the lenses are AR screens themselves, placing visual context onto the world around you. Hopefully we’re not too many years (months?) away from that.
Metaverse for the masses
Zuckerberg's comments made it clear: this advanced tech isn't just for a select few; it's for everyone. It's (relatively) cheap and it's certainly cheerful. Companies now face an intriguing challenge. As this hardware becomes more accessible to the wider public, they need to cater to a much larger pool of users, designing products that are universally appealing yet innovative enough to challenge and captivate a diverse audience. However, amidst all this metaverse marvel, there's an underlying thread that remains unchanged: the importance of human connection. Even as the company evolves, Meta holds onto this core philosophy. In a world where our existence is split between online and offline, businesses need to ensure their strategies provide a joined-up experience, celebrating and nurturing this dual existence. Zuckerberg also stresses the importance of responsibility. This new tech age, with AI's ability to create hyper-realistic images and predict behaviours, comes with ethical dilemmas. Businesses have the responsibility to wield this power with care, ensuring they prioritise ethical considerations, uphold transparency, and safeguard user privacy.
So here we are folks, on the cusp of a new era in personal computing. As machine learning fuses with spatial technology, we're seeing an evolution where the physical and digital blur together. The Phigital!
As our world becomes this intertwined mesh of real and virtual, businesses need to be innovative and accommodating to these emerging hybrid experiences. In this ‘phigital’ landscape, AI is no longer a background player; it's deeply rooted in applications we use daily. Meta's open, democratised approach to AI is promising for developers and businesses wanting to work with their platform. We're excited to get stuck in. Could Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses provide a personalised shopping experience, with MetaAI guiding you on style choices based on your wardrobe and previous purchases? How about popping on a Quest 3 headset during a long haul flight for a fully immersive, escapist experience? Or personalised workout sessions with a virtual, generated Joe Wicks who talks directly to you? The possibilities are endless.
To sum it up, the Meta Connect 2023 Keynote gave us an exciting glimpse into the future of tech: the fusion of mixed reality, AI, and Kendall Jenner. For businesses, this is both a challenge and an unmatched opportunity. The metaverse awaits us. See you there?