It was only a matter of time before Facebook joined the trend with their own artificial intelligence voice assistant.
Facebook want to start talking back to their 2.3 billion users around the world by developing their own virtual assistant. Mark Zuckerberg has been interested in AI for a while, pledging to build on the ‘Jarvis’ AI back in 2016. Now he’s looking to take on Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri directly with the development of Facebook’s own voice-controlled AI.
Reported first by CNBC, the artificial intelligence is under development by the social media giant’s tech division responsible for their virtual reality, Oculus headsets. It has reportedly been in the works since early 2018 though there’s no information on when they plan to make it public.
According to two employees who left Facebook in the past few months, a team in Redmond, Washington are leading the design of their new AI assistant. Facebook’s director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant, Ira Snyder, is leading the development.
It’s not yet clear how Facebook will use the AI. It will undoubtedly be implemented in their recently launched Portal speakers but there is a massive amount of potential in voice control with Facebook itself. It could enhance and expand on the platform, even result in a heavier multimedia approach.
The team have reportedly been in contact with vendors of the smart speaker supply chain to discuss their plans. A spokesperson speaking to Reuters said: “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR profucts including Portal, Oculus, and future products.”