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Sunday, July 21, 2024

If there’s one thing AI has done for us, it’s killed Zuck’s metaverse

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Turns out I’m a very forgiving sort. I’ll take all the bad things the rise of generative AI can throw at me so long as I can pull something positive out of it. And in this case it’s the potential end of having to ever refer to Zuckerberg’s goddam metaverse ever again.

Praise be to our new AI overlords. Take my job, I don’t care anymore.

According to a report in The Information (via BusinessInsider), Meta seems to be pulling back from even mentioning last year’s buzzword. And, y’know, the whole etymology of the company’s new name.

Meta is no longer pitching the metaverse in conversations with its advertisers and is instead trying to get them to back its Tiktok-a-like short-form videos and its AI tools. That’s in stark contrast to last year, where every second word out of Zuckerberg’s mouth was ‘metaverse,’ in what he was expecting to be the future of the internet.

In fact, Meta has banked so hard on what was seen as some sort of inevitable future of computing existence that until recently it was seemingly more than happy to throw cash down a big black hole signposted ‘metaverse.’

Meta’s Reality Labs division, the part of the business focused on VR and the metaverse, has been losing money since its inception at a frightening, surely unsustainable rate. In the last financial quarter alone it managed to haemorrhage $4.279 billion.

And with the inexorable growth in generative and more traditional AI, and the interest the likes of ChatGPT has garnered, you can understand why it might now want to switch its messaging somewhat. 

Virtual reality

Best VR headset: which kit should you choose?
Best graphics card: you need serious GPU power for VR
Best gaming laptop: don’t get tied to your desktop in VR

“Look,” says an increasingly desperate Meta exec in a tight-fitting sweater to a meeting room of advertisers, ‘we’ve got AI too.” 

“No, not like ChatGPT… no, it’s not like Bard… no, no, it won’t start spouting fascistic rhetoric at the drop of a hat. Oh, you might like to have that option? Well, we’ll see if we can work something out.”

Apparently Meta’s AI tools will help shove targeted ads down the throats of Facebook users, while it’s also spending money on generative AI features that can help create marketing campaigns. Presumably to plug the gaps left by the swathe of layoffs around the company.

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