Meta is experimenting with an artificial intelligence system that allows individuals to describe virtual environments and build sections of them, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a sample today at a live event. Builder Bot, a proof of concept, could someday attract more people to Meta’s Horizon “metaverse” virtual reality experiences. It may also help to enhance the creative AI technology that underpins machine-generated art.
Starting with directions like “let’s go to the beach,” which causes the bot to generate a cartoonish 3D environment of sand and water around him, Zuckerberg guided viewers through the process of creating a virtual area using Builder Bot in a scripted demo video. (This is “entirely AI-generated,” according to Zuckerberg.) Later orders range from broad requests like “create an island” to more detailed requests like “add altocumulus clouds” and “a model of a hydrofoil,” which is a joke about himself. They also feature sound effects such as “tropical music,” which Zuckerberg claims come from a boombox built by Builder Bot, but it might just as well have been generic background audio. The movie doesn’t say whether Builder Bot uses a small library of human-created models or if AI is involved in the creation process.
AI TEXT-TO-ART TOOLS ARE BECOMING MORE AVAILABLE, BUT THEY ARE MOSTLY 2D.
Several AI projects, including OpenAI’s DALL-E, Nvidia’s GauGAN2, and VQGAN+CLIP, as well as more accessible applications like Dream by Wombo, have exhibited image production based on text descriptions. However, while some researchers are working on 3D object generation, these well-known initiatives entail creating 2D images (often quite strange ones) without interactive components.
Builder Bot looks to be using voice input to add 3D things that users may walkabout, as stated by Meta and demonstrated in the video, and Meta is aiming for more ambitious interactions. “With just your voice,” Zuckerberg stated during the event keynote, “you’ll be able to create nuanced worlds to explore and share experiences with others.” During the occasion, Meta also announced plans for a universal language translator, a new version of a conversational AI system, and a project to develop new translation models for languages with small textual data sets.
Zuckerberg admitted that advanced interactivity, such as the kinds of useful virtual objects that many VR users take for granted, offers significant obstacles. If users request objectionable content or the AI’s training reproduces human biases and stereotypes about the world, AI generation can bring new moderating challenges. And we have no idea what the present system’s limitations are. So, for the time being, don’t expect to see Builder Bot in Meta’s social VR platform – but you can get a glimpse of Meta’s AI future plans.
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