Last Updated: September 28, 2023, 14:04 IST
Palo Alto, California, USA
Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the Meta Connect 2023 keynote this week where the company announced its version of AI tech, smart wearables and more. But one thing we didn’t hear much from Zuckerberg and Co is the reference to the metaverse.
The term that was seemingly coined by Mark which became an industry thing in the past few years was merely a footnote in the whole session.
In fact, some reports pointed out that Zuckerberg did not say metaverse for the first 33 minutes of its keynote, which is a staggering thing to note. After all, he decided to rename Facebook and bring all its co-owned products like Instagram under a parent company called Meta. But it seems that Meta has realised the world has moved on from the metaverse, and AI is the next big focus for the industry.
OpenAI took the lead with the launch of ChatGPT earlier this year, which has undeniably become a sensation. Microsoft decided to pay the big bucks to get dibs on the AI chatbot, which is now headed into version 4.0. Google and Amazon have slowly picked up with their respective moves in the AI arena.
So it is understandable to hear Meta and Zuckerberg talk about Generative AI and how the company plans to integrate its AI tech into platforms like WhatsApp, smart glasses and more. But where does that leave the big metaverse project? The cartoon-like characters in the metaverse didn’t exactly thrill people, so is that the end of the dream?
Reports have already talked about a lean workforce now building products for the ecosystem. And it is likely that Meta would prefer to merge its Quest headset lineup with the metaverse, which is now more aligning towards mixed reality like Apple’s Vision Pro headset.
You can’t really blame Meta for pivoting from its original focus that too in a few years. Everyone was happy with the direction of virtual reality which has now evolved into mixed reality, with Apple giving its vote of confidence to some extent.
Having said that, wasn’t Meta supposed to herald the company into the metaverse era, and make it the next big thing in the industry, what happened to those aspirations? It seems like the Zuckerberg has also been smitten by the craze around AI which explains the whole point of having so much talk around AI at the Meta Connect 2023 this week. AI is coming in stickers, messages, and even games. It’s going all-out and Meta wants a piece of it.
But here’s the thing. We’ve heard so many tech companies venture into the metaverse and talk highly about its future, do they also pivot to AI now that the founding entity of the ecosystem has taken a step back. It will be interesting to see how Meta plans to shift its trajectory towards AI and more importantly, for how long.