Since ChatGPT was unveiled, OpenAI and Microsoft have dominated the headlines in artificial intelligence (AI). Google, which lost its footing somewhere, is crawling back with frequent releases of new products.
But where is Meta? In a recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg spilled the beans on how his company plans to take on the might of Microsoft and Google in AI.
The excitement about new AI products might be waning, but it is a hotly contested space. One look at the sales projections of NVIDIA's AI chips gives us enough information to know where companies are headed.
Following OpenAI's lead, every major tech company in the West and the East has trained AI models and made their chatbots. Even Apple has hinted at a generative AI product later this year. But Meta has stayed surprisingly silent.
How Meta will approach AI
During a recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company intended to enter the AI market and win in the high-stakes race against Microsoft and Google. The key ingredient in Meta's strategy is the vast amount of data available on its platforms.
It is no longer a secret that Big Tech is crawling publicly available information online to train its AI models. Last year, Elon Musk attempted to remove a sizeable chunk of this information by removing the freely accessible APIs for his social media site X (formerly known as Twitter).
Zuckerberg and his company, on the other hand, have a treasure trove of information that they have walled inside their products, where people have shared billions of images and videos over the years. According to the Meta CEO, this is a larger pie of data to which it has exclusive access and is bigger than other publicly crawling companies.
Using this information, Meta wants to build advanced AI products and services for its users of its products such as Instagram and Whatsapp.
The cost of building Meta's AI
Zuckerberg minced no words when he said that Meta was embarking on an "ambitious and long-term AI research and product development effort" that would take multi-year investments in infrastructure.
The company estimates that it could spend an additional $9 billion on AI development this year, over and above the $28 billion it spent on its other expenses last year, taking its tally to well above $30 billion yearly.
Zuckerberg's statements are similar to those he made when the company underwent a brand makeover to assert that metaverse was the future it was investing in a couple of years ago. Back then, Meta was quite the lone player in the arena and spent billions on the dream.
Reality Labs, the company's virtual reality wing, recently reached $1 billion in revenues, a major milestone. However, Meta spent $16 billion on the division last year. She expects to make many more billion-dollar investments in this space shortly.
With AI, Meta is already lagging and would need aggressive investments to beat the runaway leader, Microsoft. Zuckerberg also mentioned that his company would aim for general intelligence (AGI), once again an unproven concept that could be a winner or see billions spent without tangible output.
Originally published on Interesting Engineering : Original article