AI is everywhere, and it’s only going to continue taking over our lives. You don’t even need to download anything AI-specific in order to try it out for yourself. In fact, you can do it right from Instagram. Meta is now rolling out its AI chatbots to its various products—including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger—and it’s a bizarre experience.
Meta announced its AI chatbots during its Meta Connect 2023 event last month. Now, all 28 are here: These bots are built on the company’s Llama 2 open-source large language model (LLM), and can connect to the internet via Bing to deliver up-to-date answers to your questions.
All 28 chatbots have their own unique personality, and Meta wants you to chat with different bots for different conversations. For example, the company might want you to chat with the travel expert when you’re looking for tips on an upcoming trip, or the cooking pro when thinking about making something new for dinner.
But there’s a catch: Fifteen of these chatbots are actually based on celebrities. Meta paid these actors, chefs, athletes, and personalities to use their likeness as AI bots. While the bots are text-only for now, meaning you can’t have an actual face-to-face conversation with Tom Brady, the idea is they’ll text like the celebrity. On top of that, they’ll appear in a floating windows above the chat, “reacting” to different parts of the conversation:
Here’s the full list of Meta’s AI bots you can chat with:
- Lorena (Padma Lakshmi): Travel expert
- Bru (Tom Brady): Confident sports debater
- Dungeon Master (Snoop Dogg): Adventurous storyteller
- Tamika (Naomi Osaka): Anime fanatic
- Billie (Kendall Jenner): Ride-or-die older sister
- Amber (Paris Hilton): Crime-solving detective
- Max (Roy Choi): Seasoned sous chef
- Coco (Charli D’Amelio): Dance enthusiast
- Luiz (Isreal Adesanya): MMA expert
- Perry (Chris Paul): Approachable golf pro
- Dylan (LaurDIY): Quirky DIYer
- Victor (Dwayne Wade): Motivational triathlete
- Zach (Mr. Beast): Brotherly jokester
- Sally (Sam Kerr): Free-spirited friend
- Angie (Raven Ross): Fitness enthusiast
There are also non-celebrity AI chatbots you can chat with as well:
- Meta AI: AI Assistant
- Thalia: Fantasy adventure guide
- Brian: Warm-hearted grandpa
- Izzy: Aspiring singer-songwriter
- Scarlett: Hype woman bestie
- Becca: Devoted dog mom
- Alvin the Alien: Quirky alien
- Bob the robot: Sarcastic robot
- Lily: Creative writing partner
- Carter: Practical dating coach
- Jane Austen (lol): Opinionated author
- Leo: Career coach
- Jade: Hip-hop obsessive
- Liv: Open-hearted mom
As of this article, Meta’s chatbots should be live across its apps. To start, fire up Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp, then start a new chat. Rather than picking one of your contacts however, choose “AI Chat.” Tap “Continue” on the pop-up, and you’ll be greeted by a “Chat with an AI” window. Here, you can choose from the entire cast of AI characters to chat with, including Meta’s AI assistant.
The thing is, talking with these chatbots is weird. It’s not that it feels like you’re talking to Snoop Dogg or Kendall Jenner (it doesn’t), nor does it seem like you’re chatting with these celebrities as they play a character. Instead, it feels like you’re DMing an amateur screenwriter. That said, the more specific characters, like Max the chef or Lorena the travel expert, seem to provide relevant tips on their niches, which is likely a combination of information found in their training, as well as what they pull up from Bing. (Remember: AI is prone to making stuff up, so don’t rely too much on their advice.)
You can also use Meta AI assistant in a similar fashion to ChatGPT, including as an AI image generator. Just start a prompt with “/image,” followed by your request. That said, Meta has put the training wheels on all of these features, so you’ll run into resistance quick if you try anything inappropriate. Izzy the aspiring songwriter didn’t much like the lyrics I ran past her, and suggested I try writing about “the beauty of nature” instead, while Meta AI’s image generator dismissed my requests again and again until I fed it something innocent and boring (and even then, it spit this out).
When chatting with an AI chatbot actually feels like a conversation, and not just a curated, scripted back-and-forth, then I’ll have my concerns about the tech. But for now, this is an interesting experiment Meta likely paid a lot of money for. Try some of these bots out for yourself and see what you make of them.