Nerds love to draw comparisons between VR and Star Trek’s Holodeck, a room that creates interactive (and often deadly) computerized environments. That comparison feels pretty accurate today, as Facebook is now stealing one of the fictional Holodeck’s underrated features—the ability to craft a VR world using voice commands.
In a new demonstration video, Mark Zuckerberg shows how a prototype AI called Builder Bot can instantaneously shape a VR environment at your request. Commands like “let’s go to the beach” adjust the setting for the VR world, just as they do in the Holodeck. And to our surprise, ultra-specific requests like “fill the sky with altocumulus clouds” work without a hitch.
Zuckerberg even shows how Builder Bot can populate a world with tables, trees, and other objects. Of course, he doesn’t clarify whether the AI actually designs these objects or environments—there’s a good chance that Builder Bot is simply pulling pre-made elements from a database. (Sort of like if The Sims let you decorate your house using voice commands.)
Oddly enough, Facebook is also trying to build the Universal Translator from Star Trek. It discusses this tool at length in a blog post, though the company doesn’t have a Universal Translator prototype just yet.
Builder Bot isn’t a finished product, and it may simply serve as an influence for future metaverse features. I should clarify that Builder Bot is different from AI like NVIDIA GauGAN or WOMBO Dream, which create 2D images from voice commands rather than interactive VR environments.