Meta is preparing to launch AI-enabled chatbots with unique personalities, according to a report by Financial Times. What’s more? It looks like the first chatbot released will be none other than Abraham Lincoln, so you’ll be able to ask good ole Honest Abe his thoughts on Barbenheimer or whatever. The company is also reportedly creating a surfer personality expressly for making travel plans.
This is an attempt to boost engagement across Meta’s social media platforms, as human-like discussions tend to be more interesting than droll robotic responses. The company hasn’t announced which of these platforms would host Abe Lincoln and his pals, though previous reports indicated Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp would be recipients of this new technology. Meta staffers are calling these chatbots “personas” and they could launch as soon as September.
These personas will provide a new way to search and they’ll even offer recommendations, similar to how current chatbots work, though ChatGPT and the rest don’t have Abraham Lincoln on the payroll (just don’t ask him about the best local opera houses.)
FT notes that the chatbots could also collect vast amounts of personal data, something Meta has never shied away from. After all, you’ll likely share more personal details with a human-like companion than one devoid of personality. The vast majority of Meta’s yearly revenue comes from advertising, so go ahead and tell your good friend Abe all about your likes and dislikes. What’s the worst that could happen?
During Meta’s yearly earnings call last week, Zuckerberg said he envisioned a future with AI “agents that act as assistants, coaches or that can help you interact with businesses and creators.” To the latter point, he said the company was also building AI chatbots specifically for customer service and one to be used by Meta staffers.
Meta isn’t the first company to try to inject a bit of personality into the chatbot game. The startup Character.ai uses large language models (LLMs) to simulate conversations with real-life figures like Elon Musk and works of fiction like Nintendo’s Mario, among many others. Snapchat’s My AI chatbot is friendly and personable when compared to its drier counterparts. It also spews out sponsored links, as a harbinger of things to come for fake Lincoln and his surfer buddy.