22 April 2024

No More Loneliness? Meta is launching AI-powered chatbots for people to ‘befriend’, chat with on Facebook

2 min read

No More Loneliness? Meta is launching AI-powered chatbots for people to ‘befriend’, chat with on Facebook

Meta is planning to launch a number of AI chatbots so that users can befriend and chat with them. The chatbots can be personalised in any way users want and can even speak like historical figures

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is preparing to introduce AI-powered chatbots designed to entice users back to the massive social media platform. Additionally, the company is also working on AI agents for its Metaverse initiative.

These chatbots are expected to engage in lifelike conversations with the platform’s billions of users, assuming various personas. For example, there could be an AI representing Abraham Lincoln to educate users about the abolition of slavery, or a travel advisor to provide information on the latest and best surfing destinations.

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A bid to bring back young users?
However, it remains uncertain whether this new feature will be enough to attract users who abandoned Facebook years ago. Younger generations have already moved on to platforms such as Meta’s Instagram and TikTok, viewing Facebook as irrelevant and primarily for older demographics.

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Despite its efforts to remain relevant, Facebook still boasts a substantial number of active users, recently surpassing 2.064 billion daily active users, though the increase was modest compared to the previous quarter.

Meta’s AI Gambit
In a broader context, Meta’s introduction of AI chatbots appears to be an effort to catch up with its competitors in the AI field. Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, expressed excitement about the potential of generative AI and its integration into all of their products.

Meta has already made progress in this direction by unveiling its latest large language model, Llama 2, which could power these chatbots. The purpose of these AI chatbots goes beyond increasing user engagement; they aim to understand users’ interests better, enabling more targeted content and advertisements.

Concerns over privacy
However, this move raises concerns about user privacy. Given Facebook’s history with user privacy issues, interactions with chatbots may expose even more user data to the company. Ethical considerations come into play as well, with the possibility of chatbots spreading misinformation and lacking proper screening.

While there is uncertainty about Meta’s approach to AI chatbots, there are hints that Zuckerberg is focused on creating avatar chatbots for long-term interactions within the metaverse.

Furthermore, the AI chatbot hype has diminished recently, and even experts within Facebook have questioned the longevity of large language models as a trend.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether Meta’s foray into AI chatbots will attract users back to the platform they abandoned and how the company will address the challenges and risks associated with this technology.