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Meta unveils new version of Quest, Ray Ban smart glasses, AI bots

Meta on Wednesday rolled out new artificial intelligence features for its signature social media apps to battle the popularity of rival bots like ChatGPT.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook’s parent company, introduced the enhancements to Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp during the opening day of the Meta Connect developer conference at the tech giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The new tools include an AI personal assistant that Meta’s 3 billion users can interact with when using any of the messaging apps — along with a smattering of AI characters Zuckerberg called “a bit more fun” — such as “Max the sous chef,” who can help come up with ideas for dinner, or Lily, a “personal editor and writing partner.”

“These are just a few we have trained, there are a lot more coming,” Zuckerberg said at the two-day event, the company’s first public conference since the pandemic.

“Advances in AI allow us to create different AI personas to help us get different things done,” he continued. “This isn’t just going to be about answering queries. This is about entertainment and about helping you do things to connect with the people around you.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the Meta Connect developer event at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters on Wednesday.
Zuckerberg unveiled Meta’s Quest 3 headset, which will sell for $500 apiece.
Mark Zuckerberg introduced an AI personal assistant people can interact with using any of Meta’s messaging apps.

Zuckerberg also unveiled Meta’s new $500 virtual and augmented reality headset, the Quest 3.

The $500 price tag is an increase from its $300 cost. The latest iteration of the Quest 3, which will begin shipping on Oct. 10, comes just before Apple is set to unveil its Vision Pro headset, which will cost a whopping $3,499 per unit.

Zuckerberg also touted Meta’s $300 Ray Ban Stories smart glasses, which will enable people to record videos, take photos, livestream on Facebook, and listen to music with the help of an AI assistant.

Meta also introduced Ray Ban Stories smart glasses that will enable livestreaming on Facebook with the help of an AI assistant.

“Smart glasses are the ideal form factor for you to let an AI assistant see what you are seeing and hear what you are hearing,” Zuckerberg said.

The new products failed to move Meta’s stock price, which was flat on Wednesday.

Artificial intelligence is central to Meta’s long-term goal of evolving from a social media company into one that focuses on technical hires.

Since last year, Meta has laid off some 20,000 employees as the online advertising market has dried up while TikTok has emerged as the biggest competitor in the social media space.

After a dismal 2022, Meta shares have surged more than 120% since January — bolstered by improved financial results and investor enthusiasm over the budget-tightening plan.

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