After several months of difficulties, cuts, and setbacks, Mark Zuckerberg held an all-hands meeting at Meta’s Menlo Park, California campus to detail his plan to revitalize the company. In a roughly 15-minute speech, Mr. Zuckerberg explained his vision for blending Meta’s artificial intelligence research with its virtual reality plans. He also spoke about how the company would democratize access to A.I. and use open-source technology to develop new products. The speech was an attempt to restore employee morale after what has been the most tumultuous time in Meta’s history.
Mr. Zuckerberg explained that he had made some “tough decisions” regarding layoffs. However, he believed it was the best way to “build a better technology company” that could ship better products faster. The company had grown to over 80,000 employees during the pandemic, and he wanted to use this period to rebuild and evolve Meta’s culture
He spoke about A.I. assistants that could help people create better content or provide advice when they’re feeling down. These agents could assist customers on products such as WhatsApp, the messaging app Meta wants to turn into an essential tool for businesses. Mr. Zuckerberg envisioned agents that could cater to people’s different interests and which would become a ubiquitous feature of Meta’s suite of apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
Mr. Zuckerberg believes that democratizing access to A.I. is aligned with Meta’s product vision of enabling more A.I.s, rather than a single, dominant A.I. He wants to develop new A.I. products that will expand human connection and build new artificially intelligent models that will ultimately support the metaverse.
Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged that Meta had been criticized for its approach. The company is betting heavily on open-source technology, which critics fear could potentially lead to malicious systems that accelerate the spread of misinformation. However, Mr. Zuckerberg said that open-source technology results in greater external scrutiny of the technology because it can be seen by many technologists.
Meta is also betting on generative A.I. technology to create new virtual experiences and items. The company plans to make its A.I. assistant a feature of the next version of its smart glasses. Mr. Zuckerberg took a swipe at Apple’s recently unveiled Vision Pro headset, criticising its high price and materials. He noted that Meta had spent years developing its latest headset, the Quest 3, which will start at $500.