Meta, formerly known as Facebook, today showed off a prototype AI system that lets people generate or import things into a virtual world using just voice commands. The company sees the tool, called “Builder Bot,” as an “exploratory concept” that shows the potential of AI to create new worlds in the metaverse. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated the prototype at the Meta AI: Inside the Lab event on Wednesday in a pre-recorded demo video.
In the video, Zuckerberg explained the process of building parts of a virtual world by describing them. It begins with the prompt “Let’s go to a park”. The bot then creates a 3D landscape of a park with green grass and trees. Zuckerberg then says “actually, let’s go to the beach”, after which the bot replaces the current landscape with a new one of sand and water. He then says he wants to add clouds and notes that everything is AI generated. Zuckerberg then changes the landscape by saying he’d rather have altocumulus clouds, which is meant to demonstrate how specific voice commands can be.
It then points to a specific area of water and says “let’s add an island there”, then the bot creates one. Zuckerberg then issues several other voice commands, such as adding trees and a picnic blanket. It also adds the sound of seagulls and whales. At one point he even adds a hydrofoil – a nod to one of his favorite hobbies, which later turned into a meme.
Throughout the video, the Builder Bot appears to use voice commands to create 3D objects and place them on the landscape. In the blog post announcing the prototype, Meta said the tool would “fuel creativity in the metaverse,” but didn’t provide technical details.
The technology, if successful, could have implications for other VR worlds and platforms. For example, gaming platform Roblox started testing voice features in recent months and offers its own development platform. It’s interesting to imagine how a company like this could one day adopt the kind of technology displayed in Meta’s prototype for a similar world-building experience.
However, in its current form, the world created by Builder Bot is quite simple in terms of appearance and functionality. And while it might be fun at first to speak commands to make objects appear, it’s not a scalable way to create more complex 3D environments. On the contrary, it could be a fun playground for kids for an entry-level experience in virtual world creation. (Unfortunately, Meta is already proving that her virtual environment may not be a safe place for children.)
Meta’s unveiling of its prototype comes as the company spends billions on the Metaverse. Earlier this month, Meta released financial data for its Reality Labs division for the first time and revealed that it lost more than $10 billion last year. The company said it expects the losses to only increase this year, indicating that Meta apparently has endless money to spend on developing the Metaverse and likely has plenty of time for it. do before other small businesses. The company’s heavy investment in the Metaverse also suggests that we’ll see more prototypes designed to advance the Metaverse.
While a true “metaverse” may not yet exist, the buzzword has been used a lot by Zuckerberg and Meta over the past year and even fueled its recent rebranding. Zuckerberg previously described the metaverse to investors as a “virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you’re in rather than just watching.
Meta made a few other announcements at its event today, including its AI-powered chatbot projects, an AI system map tool, and a universal voice translator. The company says the latter could provide instant speech-to-speech translation in any language, including those that are primarily spoken, which would be a leap forward over existing translation systems. Meta noted that 20% of the world’s population does not speak the languages covered by current translation tools and that it plans to overcome this problem by deploying new machine learning techniques.