Zuckerberg kicks off Meta event on future of AR/VR investments


Reuters API


Sep 29, 2023

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage on Wednesday to open an event where he is expected to give an update on his plan to build the immersive metaverse which he has pitched as the future of computing.


The Meta Connect conference is the social media company’s biggest event of the year as well as its first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic.

The day’s announcements are expected to indicate how Zuckerberg plans to navigate the shift this year of investor fervor to artificial intelligence from augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Stakes for the event are high as investors last year slammed the parent company of Facebook and Instagram for spending extensively on the metaverse, prompting Zuckerberg to lay off tens of thousands of staff to continue funding his vision.

Developers will be watching to assess what apps they might create for Meta’s latest hardware devices, such as a new Quest virtual reality headset due out this fall. Investors, meanwhile, will be scouting for signs of whether a gamble that has lost the company more than $40 billion since 2021 may pay off.

A top priority for the day will involve AI-powered virtual assistants with distinctive personalities that the company intends to embed inside its apps, according to two sources. The Wall Street Journal initially reported the plan to announce generative AI chatbots at Connect.

Just before the event, Meta said it was delivering on a plan announced early last year to roll out mobile and Web versions of its flagship social VR platform Horizon Worlds. It also quietly added legs to its previously upper-body-only virtual reality avatars, as spotted by industry blog Upload VR.

© Thomson Reuters 2023 All rights reserved.

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