The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses have multimodal AI now

When the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses launched last fall, they were a pretty neat content capture tool and a surprisingly solid pair of headphones. But they were missing one key feature: multimodal AI. Basically the ability for an AI assistant to process multiple types of information such as photos, audio, and text. A few weeks after launch, Meta rolled out an early access program, but for everyone else, the wait is over. Multimodal AI is coming to everyone.

The timing is strange. The Humane AI Pin was just launched and failed with reviewers after a universally poor user experience. This is a bad omen hanging over AI gadgets. But after chatting a bit with the early access AI beta on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses over the past few months, it’s a little premature to write off this class of gadget completely.

First of all, some expectations need to be managed here. Meta glasses don’t promise everything under the sun. The main command is to say “Hey Meta, look and…” You can fill in the rest with phrases like “Tell me what that plant is”. Or read a sign in another language. Write Instagram captions. Identify and learn about a monument or landmark. The glasses take a photo, the AI ​​communicates with the cloud, and a response comes to your ears. The possibilities aren’t limitless, and half the fun is figuring out where their limits are.

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For example, my spouse is a car enthusiast with his own pair of these things. They also have early access to AI. My life has become a never-ending game of “Can Meta’s AI correctly identify this random car on the street?” » Like most AI, Meta’s is sometimes right and often wrong. One beautiful spring day, my partner was taking glamorous photos of our cars: an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and an Alfa Romeo Tonale. (Don’t ask me why they like Italian cars so much. I’m a Camry girl.) He correctly identified the Giulia. The Tonale was also a Giulia. Which is funny because, visually, these look nothing alike. The Giulia is a sedan and the Tonale is a crossover SUV. However, it is very effective in identifying Lexus models and Corvettes.

I tried asking the AI ​​to identify my plants, which are all various forms of succulents: Haworthia, snake plants, jade plants, etc. As some were gifts, I don’t know exactly what they are. At first, the AI ​​asked me to describe my plants because I got the order wrong. Oh oh. Speaking to AI in a way that you are understood can feel like learning a new language. Then he told me that I had various succulent plants from Echeveriaaloe vera and Crassula varieties. I checked this with my Planta app, which can also identify plants from photos using AI. I do not have Crassula delicious. From what I understand, there is not a single Echeveria.

The most impactful experience happened when my partner stormed into my office one day. “Baby!!! Is there a big giant squirrel in the neighbor’s yard?!” We looked out my office window and lo and behold, there was actually a large rodent walking around. An unspoken competition began. My partner, who wears a pair of Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses as his daily glasses, gave it a try. by all means until Sunday for the AI ​​to identify the creature I took out my phone, took a photo and went to my computer.

I won. It was a groundhog.

In this case, it was the lack of zoom that brought in the glasses. They were able to identify the groundhog once my partner took a photo of the photo with my phone. Sometimes the question isn’t whether AI will work. This is how you will adjust your behavior to help him.

For me, it’s the mix of a familiar form factor and decent execution that makes AI feasible on these glasses. Because it is paired with your phone, the wait time for responses is very short. They’re headphones, so you feel less stupid talking to them because you’re already used to talking through headphones. In general, I’ve found AI to be most useful for identifying things when we’re on the move. It’s a natural extension of what I would do with my phone anyway. I find something that interests me, take a photo, then search for it. Provided you don’t need to zoom in very far, this is one case where it’s nice not to have your phone out.

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It’s more awkward trying to do tasks that don’t necessarily fit with how I would already use these glasses. For example, mine are sunglasses. I’d use the AI ​​more if I could wear them indoors, but as it stands I’m not that kind of jabroni. My partner uses the AI ​​a lot more because he has his with transition lenses. (And they really like to trick the AI ​​into doing stupid things and laughing.) Plus, for more generative or creative tasks, I get better results doing it myself. When I asked Meta’s AI to write a funny Instagram caption for a photo of my cat on a desk, it responded: “Proof that I’m alive and I’m not a pizza delivery guy.” » Humor is subjective.

But AI is A characteristic of Meta glasses. It is not the only functionality. This is a pair of live streaming glasses and a good POV camera. This is a great pair of open-ear headphones. I love wearing mine on runs and walks outdoors. I could never use AI and still have a product that works well. The fact that it’s here generally works and is a good voice assistant – well, it just gets you more used to the idea of ​​a face computer, which is the whole point anyway.

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