How Meta Views the Metaverse

How Meta Views the Metaverse

The metaverse’s development and embrace may hinge on the voice.

We could be headed toward an environment where augmented reality (AR) bumps up against nonfungible tokens (NFTs), where we all have avatars, where social media and interactions are all-encompassing and where the lines between digital and physical realms are blurred.

Meta (formerly Facebook) is banking on artificial intelligence (AI) to help push the metaverse along, including through initiatives that would allow people to “generate” worlds simply through the act of speaking, Reuters reported Wednesday (Feb. 23).

In that setting, and as detailed through an online event held by the company, a Builder Bot avatar was able to generate a digital beach, landscape and a picnic blanket.

“As we advance this technology further, you’ll be able to create nuanced worlds to explore and share experiences with others, with just your voice,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the event, per the report.

In addition, Meta is reportedly working on harnessing AI to create universal language translations and improve spoken interactions with voice assistants. In the demo offered by the company during the Zuckerberg presentation, a voice assistant noticed, as a family was prepping a meal, that supplies of salt were low and ordered more, according to the report.

The event comes on the heels of the company’s recent earnings announcement, in which Facebook Reality Labs — Meta’s metaverse division developing AR and virtual reality (VR) hardware, software and content, including the Oculus VR headset — lost $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. All told, the unit lost $10 billion last year.

Read more: Meta Earnings Hit by Metaverse Investments as Stock Plunges 20%

For Meta, then, the company is putting its proverbial money behind the metaverse, just as it did with its name change. Computing power remains a key and critical component of the metaverse’s emergence.

Meta last month announced its Research SuperCluster (RSC), a supercomputer that can construct and deploy the AI models behind the text and imagery that in turn is tied to AR.

See more: Meta Preps for Metaverse With World’s Fastest Computer

In the meantime, the company has shown headwinds to growth and use — chiefly across Facebook — that signal that a metaverse may not be a slam dunk. In its most recent earnings data, the company said its daily average users slipped into the end of the year, where it lost half a million individuals in the fourth quarter, as measured sequentially.

That may seem like a slight data point, but Meta needs to have momentum in place to continue to generate the top-line momentum that helps fund the new initiatives that will give the metaverse its own tailwinds. For now, cash burn — and the promise (or hope) for wondrous technologies and virtual worlds — are the metaverse’s hallmarks.