Meta has announced plans to unleash a host of new AI assistants, with a number of chatbots featuring familiar famous faces. The new AI chatbots will be available on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger and will cover a range of topics, moving Meta's AI technology into the realms of 'fun' not just functionality. But I'm not convinced anyone wants it.
Making the announcement at Meta's annual Connect event, the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that 28 individual chatbots will be launched in beta, with the potential for more to come. We're seeing lots of AI advancements recently, but I don't think this one will make it on the list of best AI productivity tools.
With the rise of alternative AIs such as ChatGPT, it seems only natural that Meta would soon introduce its own AI assistant to challenge the growing market. But of course, Zuckerberg wouldn't enter the ring without going above and beyond. launching 28 new AI assistants all with unique capabilities and quirks. “This isn’t just about answering queries, it’s about entertainment,” the CEO announced. But the question is, does anyone want to be entertained by something that's meant to be functional?
The array of new chatbots aims to target specific user interests, featuring a number of celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton, as well as Gen Z favourites like Mr. Beast and TikToker Charli D'Amelio. With Meta's newfound focus on a younger demographic, it seems the company is stepping up as serious competition for Gen Z social media apps like Snapchat, which recently introduced its own AI assistant, My AI.
The pervading issue with entertainment-based AI assistants is that they feel like a fleeting fad. Take for instance the aforementioned Snapchat AI. While it was fun for a week, there are only so many strange questions you can throw at it before the novelty starts to wear off. With internet trends changing rapidly, there's strong potential for Meta's AI pursuits to become stale before they reach their full potential.
As well as a host of celebrity chatbots, Meta is working on a collection of specialised bots that focus on specific tasks, such as a travel agent to help you book flights or a sous chef who can dream up your next meal. In theory, all of our day-to-day concerns can be fixed with one of Meta's AI chatbots, but the question is – do we really need all this help, and what's the deal with these celebrity ambassadors?
It seems that the AI-ification of just about everything is not about to stop anytime soon, but with an increasing focus on fun over function, I for one am a little exhausted with unnecessary AI additions. Meta's attempts to target Gen Z, unfortunately, feel a little forced and while conceptually the idea could be exciting, I feel it's unlikely that we'll all be regularly calling on AI Mr. Beast for some spiritual guidance anytime soon.