Meta has announced the development of a new chip specifically designed to support AI models. The company is known for its family of apps, including Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram – and of course, for trying to launch the Metaverse – but has recently started investing heavily in AI.
Meta vice president and head of infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, shared details of the progress made in last blog entry. The company has expressed a significant increase in interest in AI, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying the company “sees an opportunity to introduce AI agents to billions of people that will be useful and meaningful.”
The chip and other infrastructure plans revealed in the post will be key tools for Meta to compete with other tech giants like Google and Microsoft, who have already invested heavily in AI in the form of the Google Bard interface and ChatGPT Bing.
The new Meta MTIA (Meta Training and Inference Accelerator) chip is “a proprietary, custom family of chup accelerators targeted at inference workloads.” The chip will provide more computing power and performance to suit Meta workloads. So MTIA chips combined with GPUs will allow Meta to “provide better performance, lower latency, and more performance for any workload.”
Why does it matter? Well, the MTIA chips could be a huge boost for Meta given the ever-increasing demand for AI computing power. As it is done “in-house”, it will be designed to perfectly match Meta’s workload and requirements and will free the company from relying on other companies. The MTIA chip is still far away TechCrunchstating that we won’t see a chip until at least 2025.
Too little, too late?
We’ve already seen what a grind a company has to go through that is even a little late to an AI game (I’m looking at you Google) so not seeing a chip for at least another two years makes me doubt Meta’s place in an increasingly populated artificial intelligence in the digital landscape.
That said, there’s no question that AI will creep into the Meta at some point in one way or another. Given the types of products Meta has under its belt, such as Whatsapp and Instagram, it will be interesting to see how it can implement AI in these social media apps. It could take a page out of Snapchat’s book and just introduce users to an AI-powered chatbot, or it could completely rebuild apps and give users a whole new experience.
I’m relieved to see the company moving in any direction other than the Metaverse, so while I’m a little impatient to see what AI can do, I’m glad it’s working on something people actually want to use. The company’s belief in designing its own products is commendable and could really help it stand out from many other AI initiatives.