Meta moves away from Metaverse as AI dominates

The virtual world or metaverse seems to be on hold as tech companies devote more resources to artificial intelligence technology.

The Metaverse, a virtual world envisioned by the tech industry for business and pleasure, appears to have lost one of its greatest champions: Meta.

Meta, formerly Facebook, relied heavily on the virtual world. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with many others in the tech industry, claimed that the Metaverse would revolutionize the way people work, play games, and browse the web. The company even created its own division to develop its version of the metaverse: Reality Labs. However, after Reality Labs reported nearly $24 billion in losses over the past two years, Meta is shifting to the new zeitgeist: AI.

At the time, AI was considered the latest and most important technological development and convinced millions inside and outside of the technology industry of its potential. The ChatGPT chatbot created by OpenAI has already become an integral part of the lives of many consumers.

Mr. Zuckerberg announced last month that Meta is assembling a new team to work on AI development.

“We are creating a new top-level product group at Meta focused on Generative AI to advance our work in this space. We’re starting to bring together many 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,” he said in a Facebook post.

The public swing to AI comes after record layoffs at Meta and the rest of the tech industry. In preparation for more rate hikes and a recession, Meta laid off 11,000 workers in November.

Tech billionaire and Twitter CEO Elon Musk rejoiced after it was announced that Disney was dissolving its 50-employee Metaverse division. Mr. Musk, who has publicly criticized the Metaverse, praised the announcement on Twitter.

The Metaverse probably won’t go away, just change. While Meta had hoped that the virtual world would revolutionize the way people lived, the Metaverse has yet to find a foothold in a post-lockdown world.

As the Metaverse pushed online business meetings where people could customize an avatar and meet in a virtual space, more and more people are returning to the office. And the technology is more expensive and not as user-friendly as other video conferencing apps like Zoom.

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