In stark contrast to its promise to deliver the Metaverse that led to it changing its name in late 2021, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced an unexpected change of direction.
IN letter employees, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company’s “biggest single investment” is now advancing its AI strategy.
At the same time, Zuckerberg informed employees that another 10,000 positions would be eliminated and the company’s current 5,000 vacancies would not be filled.
While work on his metaverse “remains crucial to defining the future of social connectivity,” according to the company, the move can be seen as a Meta jump to the recent AI craze to recoup significant losses to Zuckerberg’s personal fortune, which, as Entrepreneur he notes, he is “linked to Meta’s performance.”
Given Meta’s current place in the industry, Zuckerberg said the company already has the infrastructure to deliver AI on an “unprecedented scale.”
Meta’s AI plan remains unclear. However, the letter alluded to creative expression and new content discovery as some of the existing use cases.
In his letter, Zuckerberg makes a clear distinction between AI and the metaverse, which he says aims to “provide a realistic sense of presence.”
While AI will no doubt be heavily integrated into the Metaverse, the company’s sudden shift in direction and heavy investment in AI raises the question of whether it is looking for a short-term solution to the economic woes it faces.
Meanwhile, AI writers such as ChatGPT and other media generation tools have seen a huge surge in interest from both consumers and businesses, and this could be the perfect time (albeit a bit overdue) for Meta to join the party.
Looking ahead in the so-called “Year of Efficiency”, Meta will be removing some levels of management in an effort to streamline its workforce, optimizing the ratio of engineers to other roles, and even putting an end to lower-priority projects.