What’s up with the bad Meta projects?

What’s going on with Meta? The other day Mark Zuckerberg posted a screenshot from Horizon Worlds, a supposedly central Metaverse project which is currently being dunked on by the internet like there’s no tomorrow. And for good reason too—it looks horrible. Like, really incredibly horrible. I’m not sure I can communicate just how bad it looks in fact; just see for yourself:


And this is what Zuckerberg posted publicly—from what I’ve heard, in the actual application nobody has legs (possibly so simulated sex is impossible?), but chairs abound...the whole thing seems to be a surreally bad mess.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Meta released BlenderBot 3, a chatbot which somehow manages to be a less realistic user experience than chatting with ELIZA. I tested it out, and it was so much less coherent than even GPT-2 that I was shocked the thing was released in the first place (it classified me as a Christian fundamentalist??). Turns out it also has a slight problem with misinformation as well...

So what’s going on? My gut feeling is that this has to be on purpose. I mean, it would be pretty hard to make something as ugly as Horizon Worlds if I tried, and BlenderBot is so inferior to the state-of-the-art right now that it almost feels insulting. I’m having trouble imaging a scenario where a multi-billion dollar company would publicize this without realizing what people’s reactions are going to be. However, if I try to imagine scenarios where it would make sense to make it look this bad on purpose, I still find myself confused. What would be gained from doing that?

All of this is to say that I’m currently befuddled by Meta’s behavior, and am publicly noting my confusion here. If anyone has any insight into how this sort of thing happens, feel free to comment!