Thursday, August 27, 2015

Say Hello To M, Facebook's New Personal Assistant

It seems that every piece of technology needs an "assistant" these days. I mean Apple has Siri, Windows 10 has Cortana, even Google has Now. And now, it seems, that Facebook is jumping on this bandwagon. There have been rumors that Facebook was working on an assistant within the Messenger app, but details have finally surfaced that bring it all together. This means that Apple, Microsoft, and Google will have yet another company to compete with.

In a post on Facebook (of course), Facebook Messenger Lead David Marcus wrote, "Today we're beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It's powered by artificial intelligence that's trained and supervised by people."

Marcus went on to say, "Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments, and way more. This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it's an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what's important in their lives."

Ever since Marcus joined with Facebook the Messenger product has been churning like crazy in terms of development. Regardless if it's payments or a standalone site, the product seems like it is getting a lot more attention than it ever has before.

Siri, Now, and Cortana, and M are now one big happy family! Basically what these companies are doing is they are taking the data that you've put into the service and are using it to help you out or suggest different things based off of what it knows about you. Putting M inside of Messenger is a quite a brilliant move due to the fact that people are used to tapping out messages to people as opposed to speaking out commands like other assistants sometimes require.

Facebook acquiring back in January provided the human side of the project, meaning the "trained and supervised by people" part that Marcus mentioned. Google and Apple have focused primarily on the science of Artificial Intelligence whereas Facebook has decided to power through the development of a personal assistant with more human hands.

This means that it won't be cheap for Facebook. Should the project scale out it will have to wait until the humans teach its AI to handle most requests automatically or it will have to spend a ton of money hiring a ton of people to assist the assistant. In addition to that, the launch of this tech will be very, very slow but as soon as it is released you can check back here for more information!

Content originally published here
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