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Meta to Introduce AI-Powered Chatbots ‘Personas’ in September

Financial Times (FT) recently reported (2 Aug 2023) that Meta, the owner of the tech giant company, is gearing up to launch a series of AI-backed chatbots. These innovative chatbots, set to debut next month, aim to enhance engagement with Meta’s massive user base of nearly four billion users by offering human-like discussions.

The company has been developing persona-based chatbot prototypes, each exhibiting distinct personalities, including an AI impersonating Abraham Lincoln and another providing travel advice with a laid-back surfer style. The primary purpose of these chatbots will be to offer a novel search function, provide recommendations, and entertain users with interactive experiences.

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With several tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Elon Musk’s ventures entering the AI space, Meta’s move into the AI industry is driven by the goal of attracting and retaining users amidst fierce competition from other social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter.

While the AI-backed chatbots present exciting possibilities, experts have raised concerns regarding user data privacy, manipulation, and potential data exploitation. Ravit Dotan, an AI ethics adviser and researcher, pointed out that interacting with chatbots exposes more user data to companies, leading to concerns about privacy and potential manipulation of users’ preferences.

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, envisions these AI agents serving as assistants, coaches, and facilitators for user interactions with businesses and creators. The company also plans to develop AI-powered productivity assistants for internal use and an avatar chatbot in the metaverse in the future.

To address ethical concerns, Meta intends to employ technology to screen users questions and automate checks on chatbot outputs, ensuring appropriate speech and preventing hate speech or rule-breaking vocabulary.

Meta is expected to provide further details about its AI product roadmap during the Connect developer event in September. As the tech industry rapidly advances in the AI race, Meta’s AI-powered chatbots will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of user interactions and content delivery.