Headline, March 03 2024/ ''' TWILIGHT SMARTPHONE * TWEETY * '''


 * TWEETY * '''

THE SMARTPHONE HAS HAD A GOOD INNINGS. The world only needs to talk to Sky, one of ChatGPT's new audio avatars, to feel the joy of freeing yourself from its tyranny.

'' TWILIGHT OF THE SCREEN AGE '' : NEW DEVICES SUCH AS SMART GLASSES and headsets could eventually free many platforms - Facebook and others from their dependence on the IPhone where :

Apple has hindered their ability to track data, hurting Meta's ad business. In a backhanded compliment to Mr. Zuckerberg, Apple is launching its own high-end AR/VR headset. The iPhone maker, too, may be sensing the twilight of the screen era.

This is all rather refreshing. Just as the year-long excitement over ''foundational'' models and other mind-boggling bits of AI infrastructure has begun to fade, along comes the chance that gen AI, to use the industry shorthand, will unleash an onslaught of new consumer technology.

Tech pundits are debating the best ''form factor'' for the chatbot era. Ben Thompson of Stratechery, a blog and podcast, puts it in epochal terms : 

'' There is a hardware breakthrough waiting to happen just like the internet created the conditions for the smartphone breakthrough to happen.''

The ability to talk and listen to chatbots makes Meta's bet on AR glasses and VR headsets '' drastically more compelling '', he writes.

Mr. Zuckerberg was early to see this coming. He has ploughed a fortune into VR and AR despite misgivings from investors. He remains excited by the metaverse.

This was clear from a remote interview he recently took part in with Lex Fridman, a podcaster, which used VR tools to make their virtual faces so lifelike they felt as if they were in the same room together.

[ As Mr. Fridman equipped, it could reproduce realistic facial movements even from two famously inexpressive people.] And yet gen AI has so dramatically accelerated the use case for smart glasses. Mr. Zuckerberg told another interviewer that there is now ''no question'' they will be the bigger of the two markets.

He likens AR specs to mobile phones and VR headsets to desktops. In both cases he appears to hope they will transcend screens, which he says inhabit '' a completely different plane from our physical lives ''.

The two-dimensional screen is not headed for the scrap heap yet. Incumbent technologies are always hard to dislodge. Meta's mobile apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, with their billions of users, still dwarf AIs like ChatGPT in terms of monthly visits, and they remain dependent on smartphones.

As Mark Shmulik of Bernstein, an investment firm, notes, the smartphone era has never stopped people from using PCs. Moreover, it will not be clear until people start buying the smart glasses from the shops how compelling a product they are.

The business case for the all-seeing, all hearing chatbots will also take time to emerge. Open AI charges $20 a month for access to its family of talking avatars. Meta's AI-infused smart glasses will start at $299. Yet developing them is bound to be loss making at first.

If there ever is a case for monetising them via advertisements or virtual shopping, that will probably take years. Meta's modus operandi, after all, is to launch a consumer product, scale it up and start making money from it only if it is adopted by the masses.

In the meantime, obvious safety concerns must be tackled. Consumer technology powered by AI is likely to be more immersive than social media, potentially making it even more isolating for some, or triggering unhealthy attachments.

Mr. Zuckerberg argues that AR and VR devices could help bring people together. But Mr Shmulik says investors will not want Meta to move too fast. 

'' The last thing they need is another negative PR event where they are back in the cross hairs of regulators,'' he says.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on tech giants, iPhone, and gen AI, new devices  and the future continues. The World Students Society thanks Schumpeter, The Economist.

With respectful dedication to the global users of smartphones, Students, Professors and Teachers. See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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