Meta’s metaverse plans are still on track, according to the company’s CEO.
“Our investments in AI continue. We remain fully committed to the Metaverse vision as well,” Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday (July 26) during an earnings call.
“We’ve been working on both of these two major priorities for many years in parallel now, and in many ways the two areas are overlapping and complementary.”
Meta’s metaverse ventures have been quite costly for the tech giant. Last year, its Reality Labs unit, home to the Metaverse project, took in $2.2 billion while losing $13.7 billion. The year before, losses came to $10.2 billion, with revenues of $2.3 billion. Zuckerberg told investors it’s all part of a complex, ambitious and long-term roadmap.
“I can’t guarantee you that I’m going to be right about this bet. I do think that this is the direction that the world is going in,” he said. There are 1 billion or 2 billion people who have glasses today. I think in the future, they’re all going to be smart glasses.”
On the AI front, Meta earlier this month chose to stand out from the rest of the Big Tech pack by open sourcing the latest version of its LLaMA 2 tool, making it free for research and commercial use.
“When software is open, more people can scrutinize it to identify and fix potential issues,” Zuckerberg said on his personal Facebook.
“Meta [is] supporting an open approach to provide increased access to foundational AI technologies to the benefits of businesses globally,” the company added in a blog post announcing the release LLaMA 2.
As PYMNTS noted, the open access approach means that software fans and developers worldwide are free to access Meta’s AI capabilities and tinker with the technology.
“In contrast to Meta’s approach, many AI companies have set limits to access to their technology and placed controls around it, citing safety concerns and fears of misuse and abuse, while more cynical observers and critics allege they are merely looking to stifle competition,” PYMNTS wrote.
After all, the commercial user agreement of Meta’s LLaMA 2 contract has a caveat requiring companies with 700 million monthly active users or more to ask for a license, blocking many of Meta’s competitors from accessing the open-source code without requesting a license.
“Observers believe that Meta’s move of open sourcing its AI signals that the tech company wants to be the default AI provider within the landscape,” that report said. “Providing an open source model makes it more difficult for other actors to compete on price — Microsoft, for its part, is already having to defend the $30 monthly price tag for its own AI features.”