Zuck’s metaverse bet is built on the premise that the metaverse will take presence to the next level.
“We basically believe that the metaverse is going to be the successor of theMark Zuckerberg, Facebook Q3 2021 Earnings Call
mobile Internet, that it’s going to enable social experiences that are the ultimate
expression of what we try to build, which is allowing people to feel really present
with the people they care about no matter where they actually are.”
But what if the true way to unlock presence wasn’t a hardware company, but rather a chat bot?
Enter Sydney the AI Chat Bot
Microsoft and Open AI recently collaborated to roll out an AI chat feature for Bing codenamed Sydney. Things naturally got a little odd as the chat bot emerged with an alter ego named Sydney.
I never got the chance to experience Sydney (Microsoft quickly limited her away), but the stories are wild. For someone like Ben Thompson to describe it as the craziest tech experience he has had is telling.
Interacting with Sydney wasn’t like interacting with a computer. I know Sydney wasn’t sentient, but I’m thinking about this from a logical perspective. Emotional thinkers could quickly get connected and convince themselves the chat bot is sentient. AI could be providing the presence people crave.
AI vs the Metaverse or AI and the Metaverse
I find it a little ironic that those most likely to fall head first into the metaverse (those with the least connection to the physical world) also will be the most likely to embrace AI interactions.
My best guess right now is that AI will be the killer app for the metaverse. The metaverse might need AI to thrive, but AI doesn’t need the metaverse to thrive. This imbalance might be Zuck’s problem.