How many pivots has Facebook done now?

This Ain't a Scene

The artificial intelligence arms race is barging ahead at full speed — and now, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is getting in on the game.

In a Facebook post — how antiquated that feels now! — Zuckerberg announced that Meta is "creating a new top-level product group at Meta focused on generative AI to turbocharge our work in this area" in a statement confirming his previous comments about his interest in the AI gold rush.

The new venture comes less than 18 months after the founder and CEO changed the company's name to Meta in his obsessive pivot to the capital-M metaverse. And it seems, for all intents and purposes, to be in response to the overwhelming pressure to compete with OpenAI after its ChatGPT AI changed the game at the end of last year.

Indeed, as The Atlantic's Charlie Warzel noted in response to the news of the company's most recent pivot, Zuckerberg "laid out his view of the future with very little mention of generative [AI]" during a lengthy interview with Joe Rogan last year, which seems to indicate that something changed his mind between when the interview aired last August and now.

Coming Soon

While companies like Microsoft and Snapchat are releasing their own AI chatbots, Meta's AI offerings won't be quite so on the nose — at least, not initially.

"In the short term, we'll focus on building creative and expressive tools," the Meta CEO wrote. "Over the longer term, we'll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways."

While there will be chat components with its WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger services, Zuckerberg added that the company plans to also introduce "creative Instagram filters and ad formats," as well as "video and multi-modal experiences," the latter of which could be a nod to the expensive and cartoonishly glitchy virtual reality services Meta has been developing since late 2021.

"We have a lot of foundational work to do before getting to the really futuristic experiences," the CEO continued in one of the biggest understatements of 2023 thus far, "but I'm excited about all of the new things we'll build along the way."

More on Big Tech's AI sprint: Fired Google Engineer Doubles Down on Claim That AI Has Gained Sentience

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