Meta is enabling the masses to have access to AI

Last week, Meta launched Meta AI with built-in Llama 3. Photo: AFP

Last week, Meta launched Meta AI with built-in Llama 3. Photo: AFP

Published Apr 23, 2024


Ever since Open AI started the AI race by dropping ChatGPT, every other tech company has been trying to catch up.

Although leading tech companies has some form of AI capability, few are able to get users to adopt their technology. Some have used their products to convert users into new users of their AI technology but even that has not yielded desired results.

The latest tech company to capture the attention of users is Meta (formerly Facebook). Last week, Meta launched Meta AI with built-in Llama 3.

The move by Meta is significant for several reasons.

One is that Meta is leveraging its popular products to deploy its version of AI. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been blessed with MetaAI powers.

On WhatsApp, you will now have an assistant that can do the thinking for you. If a friend asks you about the best place to dine in your favourite city, you can simply call on MetaAI to do the work. An answer to the query is simply loaded to the chat, ready to be sent. This is also true for images. Instead of searching for images or emojies to express yourself, you can simply ask MetaAI to develop the image or artwork for you.

The approach by Meta is one of the best ways to get people to adopt its version of AI. Google and Microsoft have also adopted a similar technology, by enhancing products that are used in the market with AI capabilities. Meta, however, is unique in the sense its products are mostly used for messaging and social interaction. The chances of it winning this on just these bases is high.

One assumes the technology will always work without friction.

Another interesting approach by Meta is the fact that it has decided to open source its AI technology. What this means is that it has allowed anyone who is keen to build an AI tool to use its technology for free. By doing this, it laying a foundation that could see it dominating the sector in the future.

In my opinion, Meta have done everything in the book that would ensure ease of using its AI. This is an impressive approach by Meta which is partly a result of acquiring companies that are mostly used by users. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s wisdom of buying WhatsApp and Instagram is becoming clear.

The question is whether the approach will be harmless for society. Many have raised concerns about how AI is fuelling deep fakes and misinformation. As Meta is providing a tool to develop AI, one is wondering whether this will not spiral out of control.

In the past, we’ve seen how open source products have struggled with quality control and other forms of ensuring longevity of products. As much as providing a tool to develop AI is a positive step, there are also reasons to be concerned about what might be.

As far as the release of MetaAI for consumers, there’s a reason for joy. Meta is showing others how to deploy tech products for mass adoption. It will be interesting to observe how everyone will use AI via MetaAI to unleash their creativity.

Wesley Diphoko has been documenting the innovation story of Africa at FastCompany (SA). He is passionate about enabling the advancement of townships through technology. Follow him on X via: @WesleyDiphoko