What do you expect, an attention span?
Poor, poor, Horizon Worlds. According to Facebook-turned-Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth, the company's metaverse of dead-eyed avatars has been all but abandoned by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who, in an added blow, is instead said to be spending the bulk of his time chasing the investor-appeasing Silicon Valley squirrel that is generative AI.
"We've been investing in artificial intelligence for over a decade, and have one of the leading research institutes in the world," Bosworth told Nikkei Asia in an interview on Wednesday. "We certainly have a large research organization, hundreds of people."
"We just created a new team, the generative AI team, a couple of months ago; they are very busy," he added. "It's probably the area that I'm spending the most time [in], as well as Mark Zuckerberg and [Chief Product Officer] Chris Cox."
That sound you just heard in the distance? A single, pixelated tear, hitting the deserted Horizon Worlds' floor.
To be fair, as Bosworth noted, Facebook has been working on AI R&D for years, and their large language model (LLM), LLaMa, is rumored to be quite powerful. The CTO also threw the metaverse a generative AI-laced bone elsewhere in the Nikkei Asia interview, explaining that Meta hopes that AI will ultimately make its beleaguered metaverse better.
"Previously, if I wanted to create a 3D world, I needed to learn a lot of computer graphics and programming," Bosworth told the outlet. "In the future, you might be able to just describe the world you want to create and have the large language model generate that world for you."
In the short term, though? Meta, per Bosworth's comments, is unsurprisingly gearing up to deploy AI in its advertising machine, the channel where the company makes the vast majority of its money — as opposed to the metaverse, which at this point is a multibillion-dollar money pit. (Get ready for those hyper-targeted, AI-generated ads, y'all. Cheers to living in hell!)
Still, while we're sure his investors are pleased, Zuck's latest post-pivot pivot continues to prove to be a remarkably sharp turn away from a vision that he was fully doubling down on back in just October.
And regardless of how Meta ultimately makes out in the ongoing AI race, if one thing's for sure? Until Zuck's metaverse vision is realized — if it ever is — the ghost of Zucko's legless Horizon Worlds avatar will surely haunt its meat-smoking Dr. Frankenstein 'till the bitter end. A sad thought... even Casper had some stems to stand on.
More on dizzy Zuck: Mark Zuckerberg Bows to Peer Pressure, Announces Pivot to AI
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