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Of course Facebook will monetize an ad-generating AI

Metaverse was plan A, is this plan B or C, or what?

Meta is building a generative AI system capable of churning out online ads to order and will charge businesses to use it, according to chief technology officer Andrew Bosworth.

Machine learning models that can emit fancy images, text, and videos from human-written descriptions are gaining widespread traction right now. Popular generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Midjourney have attracted millions of users. Now, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta empire wants a slice of that ML-fueled action, too.

Bosworth said Meta is going to start commercializing its own content-generation software, expects the ad-creating technology to become available in 2023, and thinks the social media biz has something enticing to sell. 

"We feel very confident that ... we are at the very forefront," he told Nikkei Asia. "Quite a few of the techniques that are in large language model development were pioneered [by] our teams."

"[I] expect we'll start seeing some [commercialization of the tech] this year. We just created a new team, the generative AI team, a couple of months ago; they are very busy. It's probably the area that I'm spending the most time, as well as Mark Zuckerberg and [Chief Product Officer] Chris Cox," he said.

Like most of Big Tech, Meta has been involved in the research and development of artificial intelligence for a long time. The social networking giant is known for its work in machine translation, and protein folding. Meta hasn't, to the best of our recollection, commercialized its own AI technology directly for other companies to use before, however.

Its generative AI models have mostly been showcased as tools to be used internally to create stuff for the metaverse or released as public demos, or open source research projects, such as its LLaMa language model or its latest computer vision Segment Anything Model, capable of defining objects in images to support image editing and robotics. 

Bosworth said Meta's generative AI software can help advertisers craft marketing material aimed at specific groups of users. Businesses could "ask the AI, 'Make images for my company that work for different audiences.' And it can save a lot of time and money," he said.

Meta makes most of its money from advertising from its various social media apps, and netted revenues of $32 billion in its latest Q4 2022 earnings report [PDF], with a profit of $4.7bn for the quarter. ®

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