After a Rocky Year, Zuckerberg Lays Out Meta’s Road Map to Employees

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Technology|After a Rocky Year, Zuckerberg Lays Out Meta’s Road Map to Employees

In an interior all-hands meeting, the main enforcement explained his plans for artificial intelligence, the metaverse and rebooting Meta’s culture.

Mark Zuckerberg wears a bluish  suit   and necktie  arsenic  helium  walks.
Mark Zuckerberg’s code appeared to beryllium an effort to rally Meta employees aft a tumultuous 9 months of wide layoffs.Credit...Jason Henry for The New York Times

Mike Isaac

By Mike Isaac

Mike Isaac has reported connected Meta and Facebook from San Francisco for much than a decade.

June 8, 2023, 2:55 p.m. ET

Mark Zuckerberg has spent the past 9 months against the ropes arsenic his institution has made large cuts to its enactment unit and struggled to summation mainstream traction with its ambitious plans for virtual reality.

On Thursday, helium told Meta employees however helium planned to get the institution backmost connected track. In an all-hands meeting, Mr. Zuckerberg offered an mentation for caller layoffs and for the archetypal clip laid retired a imaginativeness for however Meta’s enactment successful artificial quality would blend with its plans for the virtual world it calls the metaverse.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s speech was an effort to rally unit aft the astir tumultuous play successful his company’s 18-year history. The main enforcement said helium made “tough decisions” astir layoffs with the extremity of “building a amended exertion company” that shipped amended products, faster — thing helium believed Meta wasn’t doing good arsenic it swelled to much than 80,000 employees astatine the highest of the pandemic.

“I privation america to usage this play to rebuild and germinate our culture,” helium said, according to 2 radical who attended the gathering and shared remarks with The New York Times.

Mr. Zuckerberg delivered the remarks successful a astir fifteen-minute code to thousands of employees astatine Meta’s Menlo Park, Calif., campus. The talk, made connected an outdoor pavilion the institution calls Hacker Square, was besides unrecorded streamed to tens of thousands of employees astir the world.

It was 1 of Meta’s fewer large all-hands meetings implicit the past 3 years, and included presentations from different Meta executives, including Andrew Bosworth, the main exertion officer, and Chris Cox, the main merchandise officer.

While Meta has aggressively worked connected A.I. for respective years, it has been slower than competitors similar Google and Microsoft to crook that probe into user products. Mr. Zuckerberg connected Thursday elaborate plans for artificially intelligent “agents” that assistance radical crossed each Meta’s apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

He said Meta would enactment connected creating artificial quality models that were accessible to much radical than those of his company’s competitors and, ultimately, would acceptable into his plans for the metaverse.

“Democratizing entree is aligned with our merchandise imaginativeness of enabling much A.I.s alternatively than 1 singular A.I.,” Mr. Zuckerberg said, according to the 2 radical who shared remarks with The Times. “Our extremity is to physique caller A.I. products that enactment and grow quality connection.”

He envisioned A.I. assistants that assistance radical “create contented to explicit yourself and your ideas truthful overmuch better,” oregon possibly immoderate artificially intelligent mentation of “a manager that gives proposal and encourages” radical erstwhile they’re feeling down.

A.I. agents could service customers successful products similar WhatsApp, the globally fashionable messaging app that Meta has been focused connected turning into an important instrumentality for concern owners and lawsuit service. And each concern could usage a personalized A.I. algorithm.

“Different radical person antithetic interests, and we’ll request a divers array of A.I.s to correspond each of these antithetic interests,” Mr. Zuckerberg said successful the meeting.

To bash that, the institution is betting heavy connected unfastened root technology, which means it volition stock its enactment connected artificial quality with researchers who privation to physique their ain algorithms with what Meta has already done. The institution has spent billions implicit the past decennary gathering systems to tally A.I. and attracting apical researchers to enactment connected immoderate of the world’s astir hard machine subject questions astir A.I.

Meta has been criticized for its approach. Researchers and politicians extracurricular the institution accidental opening A.I. algorithms to galore others could spawn malicious, automated and intelligent systems that accelerate the dispersed of misinformation. Those blase algorithms, critics say, request to beryllium tightly controlled.

In his address, Mr. Zuckerberg defended Meta’s strategy. He said open-source bundle enables greater extracurricular scrutiny of the exertion due to the fact that it tin beryllium seen by millions of technologists. He said moving intimately with outsiders’ advances would marque Meta’s platforms better.

Mr. Zuckerberg besides said helium hoped for a satellite wherever radical could physique arsenic galore antithetic A.I. programs arsenic they want, alternatively than relying connected a fewer provided by 2 oregon 3 ample exertion companies.

That does not mean Meta is backing distant from its namesake metaverse plans, Mr. Zuckerberg said. Programs utilizing caller generative A.I. technology, helium said, could yet assistance radical physique caller virtual satellite items and experiences. And helium said the institution planned to bring its A.I. adjunct into the adjacent mentation of its astute glasses. (Meta released a brace of astute Ray-Ban glasses successful 2021, though income person been sluggish.)

He besides took a swipe astatine Apple’s precocious announced Vision Pro headset, $3,500 high-tech goggles that promised to usher successful a caller epoch of “spatial computing.”

“I was truly funny to spot what they’d ship, and it’s a bully motion for our ain improvement that they don’t person immoderate magical solutions to the laws of physics that we haven’t already explored,” helium said successful his remarks. Mr. Zuckerberg criticized the high-end materials and outgo of the device, portion noting that Meta had spent years bringing down the terms of its headsets to an upcoming mentation that volition commencement astatine $500.

“Their announcement truly shows however our imaginativeness and values are antithetic and what’s astatine involvement successful shaping this platform,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Our imaginativeness of the metaverse and beingness is fundamentally societal and astir radical interacting and feeling person successful caller astonishing ways. By contrast, each demo Apple showed was idiosyncratic sitting connected a sofa by themselves.”

Mike Isaac is simply a exertion analogous and the writer of “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” a best-selling publication connected the melodramatic emergence and autumn of the ride-hailing company. He regularly covers Facebook and Silicon Valley, and is based successful San Francisco. @MikeIsaac Facebook

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