Meta debuts AI Studio to let developers build custom chatbots

Today at its annual Connect developer conference, Meta launched AI Studio, a platform that’ll let businesses build AI chatbots for the company’s various messaging services, including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

Starting with Messenger, AI Studio will allow companies to “create AIs that reflect their brand’s values and improve customer service experiences,” Meta writes in a post. Onstage, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg clarified that the use cases Meta envisions are primarily e-commerce and customer support.

AI Studio will be available in alpha to start, and Meta says that it’ll scale the toolkit further beginning next year.

To accompany the release of AI Studio, Meta says it’s building a sandbox tool to be launched in the coming year that’ll “enable anyone to experiment with creating their own AI.” The plan is to bring this sandbox to Meta’s metaverse platforms, including Horizon Worlds, at some unspecified point in the future, so that AIs created with AI Studio can power NPCs across different metaverse games and experiences.

“From small businesses looking to scale to large brands wanting to enhance communications, AIs can help businesses engage with their customers across our apps,” Meta wrote. “And for creators, they’ll be able to build AIs that extend their virtual presence across our apps. These AIs will have to be sanctioned by them and directly controlled by the creator.”

For this reporter, AI Studio harkens back to 2016, when Facebook first launched a Messenger developer kit for business-focused messaging chatbots. But Meta promises that the bots created with AI Studio aren’t like the rules-based, rigid bots of yesteryear. Powered by large language models like Meta’s own Llama 2, they’re more capable — and dynamic — in their responses. At least in theory.

But even the best chatbot tech today isn’t perfect. The aforementioned Llama 2 models — among Meta’s best — have biases. And Meta’s other attempts at LLMs have been found to frequently refer to fake articles that sound right but aren’t actually factual, or omit key details from answers to questions.

So we’ll have to see if the bots created with AI Studio hold up to scrutiny. If Meta sticks to its promised release window, it won’t be long before we know for sure.

Read more about Meta Connect on TechCrunch


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