GlobeSt.com gets the periodic metaverse announcement, like the determination to “democratize wealth building,” or how it’s responsible for slowing game sales, or how brands can find metaverse success, or the role of a Minority Report type interface (the movie is — take a deep breath — 21 years old), or the AI-related (isn’t everything?) launch of some metaverse with the most “landowners.”
And, of course, Facebook’s metaverse membership attempt to bring in more revenue as the ad dollars dropped from 2021 to 2022.
But there’s another take on the metaverse concept and Facebook — an opinion piece by Luc Olinga, the head of tech coverage at The Street: Mark Zuckerberg Quietly Buries the Metaverse. He points to a Facebook post by CEO Mark Zuckerberg:
“We’re creating a new top-level product group at Meta focused on generative AI to turbocharge our work in this area. We’re starting by pulling together a lot of the teams working on generative AI across the company into one group focused on building delightful experiences around this technology into all of our different products. In the short term, we’ll focus on building creative and expressive tools. Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways. We’re exploring experiences with text (like chat in WhatsApp and Messenger), with images (like creative Instagram filters and ad formats), and with video and multi-modal experiences. We have a lot of foundational work to do before getting to the really futuristic experiences, but I’m excited about all of the new things we’ll build along the way.”
All AI, all the time. It’s become a marketing mantra for lots of companies, akin to previous examples such as the paperless office, total quality management, predictive supply chain management, and more. Each of these ends up having legs — look at the Internet for the big example — but none become the be-all and end-all promised, because they always have to fit into life and business as it happens.
Olinga’s thesis is that AI has become Zuckerberg’s “next big shiny thing.” Not in an ADHD sort of way, but as a calculated and opportunistic jump. An interesting observation.
“The legacy of the metaverse remains because Meta will continue to develop remnants of this virtual world, such as headsets, but it will be more for a target audience, such as videogamers and the crypto world,” he writes. “Credit to Zuckerberg: He spares himself humiliation by surreptitiously and deftly redirecting the attention of his critics to AI, which most experts consider a true technological revolution.”
Olinga does go a bit overboard with AI — why should he be an exception? — with talk of getting closer to artificial general intelligence. Not at all, though ChatGPT and its ilk and big language models are impressive in their own way.
But he has a good point. It will be interesting to see if, as he reminded, 20% of the company’s investments continue to go to its Reality Labs and the metaverse, according to what Zuckerberg told the New York Times Dealbook conference in the fall.
When it comes to CRE and the metaverse, and the potential problems for the industry, watch the big money. If it starts to pull back, begin to make a lot of space between you and its erstwhile object of affection.