Meet “M”: Facebook gets artificially intelligent with a digital assistant
What if Facebook’s Messenger app could complete tasks and find information you need, on your behalf?
Enter, Facebook M: a personal digital assistant inside Messenger!
Facebook M doesn’t work alone. M is trained and supervised by people to perform tasks like buy things, organise delivery, book travel, make restaurant reservations and more.
This morning, a population of the San Francisco Bay Area opened their Messenger apps to discover that M was already there – their new virtual assistant. We suspect the meeting went something like this…
M: Go on, ask me to organise something for you.
User: But we’ve only just met…
M: Okay, let’s start with food. You like food. Are you hungry? Shall I make a restaurant booking?
M: Maybe later. How about a weekend getaway? I’ll book it?!
Or something like that. We do understand that Facebook prompted Messenger users to test the AI, like suggesting a restaurant or weekend getaway, and then offering to book it!
Why might M have one over Siri? David Marcus, VP Messaging Products at Facebook (previously worked at PayPal as CEO, Zong and more), said that M can perform tasks that other AI virtual assistants can’t, simply because M is also powered by real people, not relying solely on technology. With Marcus on board, Facebook tripled its Messenger users to more than 700 million.
M gives more power to the mobile device user. Tasks that were best suited to desktop use are now unlocked and open to hand-held devices with M technology.
M here, at your service
Users can tap a small button towards the bottom of the Messenger app, and send a message to M. M will read the message, ask any follow-up questions, and send the user updates as the task is being completed.
M doesn’t come pre-informed with your partner’s birthday, your neighbour’s name or your favourite food, so you have to provide this information in the message thread with M. M will remember the messages you’ve sent between each other, and will be able to base future task requests on that information.
Other M test users have been the humans behind Facebook themselves. Popular M tasks have included:
- help me organise a dinner party?
- where sells X beverage in X town?
- please call my cable TV company X to cancel…
Eventually, M will reach everyone with Messenger and be free for users.
- REAL WORLD VR – MIFF TALKS 2018 ( August 14, 2018 )
- Introducing Live Video and Collages on Facebook ( December 6, 2015 )
- Hershey’s Chocolate 3D Printing ( September 28, 2015 )
- Just Out: Google Wallet & Android Pay ( September 17, 2015 )
- Google Displays Tweets in Desktop and Mobile Search Results ( August 26, 2015 )
- Google Project Sunroof on Your Roof! ( August 19, 2015 )
- Google Partners Masterclass ( August 13, 2015 )
- Don’t Get Lost in Translation with Google Translate ( August 13, 2015 )
- Australian Shoe Brand SENSO Strutting Into US, UK! ( July 28, 2015 )
- Facebook Trial: Content Creators to Benefit from Video Ads ( July 2, 2015 )