The keynote of Meta Connect 2023, the 10th annual Meta Connect conference, just wrapped up. Immerse CEO and co-founder Quinn Taber was there at the invite-only component of the conference at Meta’s headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, and the excitement was palpable.
“I am so grateful I got to experience Meta Connect 2023 first hand,” says Taber. “Being in the crowd felt like a sports arena where each announcement was greeted by cheers and celebrating! In particular, the response from the audience around the Quest 3 announcement only validated my feeling that we as an industry are at a new inflection point with mixed reality poised for mass consumer adoption.”
Meta Quest 3: The First Mainstream Mixed Reality Headset
One of the most exciting moments of the conference was the introduction of the Quest 3, which marks a major step forward in Meta’s virtual and mixed reality technology.
Meta’s Most Powerful Headset Yet
Lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, the Quest 3 can be navigated entirely with hand movements or with precision controllers. And advancements in the functionality of the passthrough cameras allow for seamless transitions between virtual reality, mixed reality, and the user’s physical environment.
Other improvements include longer battery life, sharper graphics, and a large library of immersive content.
An Even Better Tool for Immerse
For Immerse Members who prefer to access Immerse’s language learning experiences through immersive VR, the Meta Quest 3 will allow for an even more satisfying experience.
Dylan Walch, co-founder and Lead VR Developer at Immerse, is particularly excited about what the advancements will mean for Immerse’s product team.
“The performance increases in the Meta Quest 3 headset will allow us to push the limits of the contextual immersion and interactivity in our scenes and increase the number of Members we are able to support simultaneously.”
The Emergence of Meta AI
Another big buzzword at Meta Connect 2023 was AI, and Meta had several new AI features to introduce.
Meta AI, an advanced conversational assistant and image generator, is available to U.S. users on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger and will be introduced soon on the Meta Quest 3 as well.
Celebrity AI Chatbots with Personality
Perhaps the most widely discussed AI innovation, however, are the new AI celebrity chatbots now available in beta for Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger. Meta reports these chatbots have unique personalities played by famous athletes, influencers, and other celebrities including Naomi Osaka, Paris Hilton, and Snoop Dogg.
Practice Foreign Language Conversation with AI Partners in Immerse
Immerse has been offering AI-powered conversation opportunities since August 2023.
While nothing can fully replace live, interpersonal language instruction and practice for learners who want to reach true fluency, there are advantages to practicing with AI language conversation partners too.
Some language learners, for instance, are nervous about talking to other people in their new language. AI chatbots are the perfect opportunity to practice without worry.
From his perspective as CEO of an immersive language learning platform, Immerse’s Taber is inspired by the educational potential of Meta’s new celebrity chatbots.
“In particular, I see the pairing of AI and MR as a huge unlock, especially for language learning. Meta AI demoed how they are powering celebrity avatars that you can engage with. It’s such a small leap to imagine that same fundamental technology powering AI avatars that are purpose-built for language learning. Instead of asking Tom Brady a sports trivia question, what if English learners could interact with Tom in the metaverse to practice their English by discussing American sports and culture. I can’t imagine a cooler learning experience!”
VR developer Walch agrees. “We are continually looking for the best AI solutions that we can integrate into our offering that provide helpful, contextual, and interactive learning experiences for our Members. With the Meta AI announcement and progression of AI technologies, we are excited to continue innovating alongside leaders in the industry to provide the best AI integrations for Immerse.”
Meta and Immerse
The partnership between Meta and Immerse is longstanding. In June 2022, Immerse partnered with Meta to become the first live VR language learning app on the Quest store.
And in October 2022, Meta awarded Immerse a grant that included 500 Quest 2 headsets and funding to use Immerse’s language learning platform for researching immersive language learning in underfunded high schools.
Immerse appreciates Meta’s ongoing commitment to developing the metaverse and its potential to democratize learning by making immersive learning experiences accessible to everyone, everywhere.
As the first day of Meta Connect 2023 drew to a close, Taber was filled with a sense of promise.
“With each new announcement today I found myself thinking, ‘Wow, each of Meta’s priorities discussed today will directly impact the language learning experience. More than any other sector it will be education, and particularly language education, that is going to be disrupted by this groundbreaking tech.
“‘The two most important tech trends of the decade, AI and the metaverse, are beginning to look like two powerful ocean swells that then combine to create the perfect wave. It is time for us educators to grab our surfboard and get ready for the ride of our life!’”