29 Sep Meta Ray-Bans can translate as you read
Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has unveiled a £299 pair of sunglasses with an inbuilt artificial intelligence assistant that can answer questions and translate foreign languages on the go.
The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses connect to Meta AI, the company’s rival to the ChatGPT chatbot, and respond to voice commands to look up facts or settle disputes.
Mr Zuckerberg said the device would help turn high-tech glasses into a mainstream product.
The glasses, which go on sale next month, mark an attempt by Meta to maintain interest in the “metaverse” and catch up to technology such as ChatGPT in AI.
The glasses feature cameras that can recognise images in the world around them, for example to identify landmark buildings, or translate food menus written in foreign languages.
Meta launched a pair of sunglasses two years ago that could take photos and make phone calls, but has reportedly only sold around 300,000 pairs with just one in 10 still using the frames.
However, Mr Zuckerberg has long seen smart glasses that can project holograms into the real world as the next major device in computing, potentially replacing smartphones as people’s most-used gadget.
He said glasses were the “ideal form factor” for interacting with AI, rather than chatting to a chatbot on a screen.
“Smart glasses are gonna be an important platform for the future, not only because they’re the natural way to put holograms in the world… but also, because if you think about it, the smart glasses are the ideal form factor for you to let an AI assistant see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing,” he said.
The AI features will only launch in the US at first.
It came as Mr Zuckerberg unveiled a handful of AI features for Meta’s apps – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – in an attempt to catch up to rival tech giants in AI.
The company unveiled a series of chatbots, fronted by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton, that represent experts in fields such as cooking or fitness, as well as its own Meta AI chatbot designed to be an all-encompassing virtual assistant.
Users will be able to add the AI bots to group chats on WhatsApp, for example to provide restaurant recommendations when people are discussing meeting for dinner.
Despite the rise of bots such as ChatGPT, Mr Zuckerberg said: “Most people haven’t yet had the chance to experience these LLMS [large language models] or any of these AI advances yet. And that’s the thing that I think that we can help change.”
The bots feature a warning saying: “Messages are generated by AI. Some may be inaccurate or inappropriate”
Meta also unveiled an image-creation tool, called Emu, that can generate AI pictures in five seconds simply using text instructions.