While Mark Zuckerberg is still describing what the metaverse is, the Meta CEO recently demonstrated another technology that he believes would be critical to the company’s ambition of building immersive environments. Meta’s AI researchers are developing a speech-activated bot that will allow users to customize their virtual environments via spoken commands.
At a virtual presentation presenting the company’s latest AI development, Zuckerberg demonstrated an early version of the concept named Builder Bot.
“You may describe a universe and it will generate elements of that world for you,” Zuckerberg explained. He and another Meta employee utilized voice instructions to build a very rudimentary beach scene with a picnic table, clouds, and, yes, Zuckerberg’s distinctive hydrofoil, in his demo.
However, the technology appears to be in its infancy at the moment. Although Zuckerberg’s legless avatar was there, the landscape he created appeared to be flatter and lower-resolution than previous metaverse demos. “As this technology advances, you’ll be able to create nuanced worlds to explore and share experiences with others using only your voice,” he said.
The builder bot is part of Initiative CAIRaoke, a wider AI project aimed at developing the kind of conversational AI required to create these virtual environments. Facebook isn’t the only company to try out this type of study. Last year, OpenAI demonstrated a neural network capable of producing visuals from the text.
“We’ll need AI in the metaverse that is built around assisting people in navigating virtual worlds as well as our physical world with augmented reality,” Zuckerberg added. “When we wear glasses on our faces, an AI system will be able to experience the world through our eyes for the first time: see what we see, hear what we hear, and more.”
Zuckerberg’s remarks come as he tries to shift the company away from social networking and into metaverse technology, a strategy that has proven to be extremely costly so far. However, as Facebook’s core service begins to lose subscribers for the first time in its history, Zuckerberg has stated that “metaverse” experiences like the company’s virtual reality Horizon Worlds will drive future development.