In response to Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple Siri and Google Now. Facebook unveiled a new personal assistance service called M. Facebook M is a personal digital assistant that will be included within Messenger that can complete tasks and search for information in behalf of the user. The service is currently in its testing stage, with M only accessible to a few hundred users living in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people. In an announced made by Facebook Messenger lead David Marcus on Facebook post:
“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.
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.”
Facebook’s M is a way different from other personal assistants because of its ability to actually completes task on the behalf of the users, it can do stuffs like purchase an item while other personal assistants out there will only recommend an item for you.
These abilities is made possible with artificial intelligence technology, which will be automated by M. It has also been reported that Facebook has employed people which are now known as M trainers to handle the service.
The report states that the usage of humans by Facebook for M is surprising, as it goes against the trend in the tech industry of fully automating processes that were once done by humans. Facebook’s M learns from human behaviors, it can perform tasks that other software can’t, you ask ask M to organize a meeting for you or plan a dinner party for your family members. M can book a restaurant on your behalf.
Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, a team within the company that has Yann LeCun, a deep learning expert, as its leader developed the artificial intelligence technology that is powering M. In the future, the artificial intelligence technology of M is expected to become smart enough to eliminate the need for a large number of M trainers, as M will then increase its share of the workload. As such, the M trainers are temporarily hired to be able to fine tune and guide M’s artificial intelligence until it can work fine with as minimal human support as possible.
There’s big business opportunities for Facebook through its personal assistant, as Facebook can partner could partner with companies to provide more efficient service. David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook said “If, for instance, you have a lot of calls that have to be placed by people to cable companies. That’s a pretty good signal that their customers would actually like a better way to interact with the company and maybe they should have a presence inside of Messenger directly.”
Facebook’s M will be available to its 700 million users across the globe very soon.