Facebook's new digital assistant "M" is like Siri, Cortana or Google Now, but with a human touch

Facebook's new digital assistant
You might recall that last month we told you about a virtual digital assistant being dreamed up by Facebook, with the code name Moneypenny. Today, the new assistant has been introduced by Facebook, and it is being tested on the Facebook Messenger app. Called Facebook M, the assistant can do the things that the other assistants do, such as gather information, and perform some tasks. And like the others, it is free. But unlike Siri, Cortana and Google Now, there is also a human component to Facebook M. 

Besides the AI that helps control how the other assistants respond to inquiries and requests, Facebook M is "trained and supervised" by humans. This allows Facebook M to make purchases, arrange your travel plans, reserve seating at restaurants, or arrange for gifts to be sent to friends and family.

David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, has high hopes for Facebook M. "We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do," he said. "Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time."

Facebook M is activated by tapping a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app. You then send the assistant a message about your request or task. Facebook M will read the message and send back some pertinent questions to follow-up with, if necessary. Updates will be sent out as the task is completed. Facebook employees have used M to call cable companies to set up or cancel certain services. Of course, to handle something like sitting on hold for hours, and then requesting changes to your cable account, a real person will be handling the task for you.


The human part of M is going to require a big financial investment from Facebook since thousands of these so-called "trainers" will eventually be needed. The only thing we really know about them is that they are contracted by Facebook. Messenger has 700 million users, and once M is rolled out for all of them, it should be interesting to see how many people Facebook will need to cover the human part of its new assistant.


source: Facebook via Wired, AndroidAuthority

FEATURED VIDEO

8 Comments

1. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Lame.

2. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Uh huh... Anything but no purchasing through any personal voice assistant. I'll do it manually if I have to purchase anything. By the way, I call my GF "M" maybe I should get the alphabet copyrighted.

3. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

GTFO dont need it

4. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

That can make me feel like Bond. Well, a little at least "M, bring me a coffee" Useless

5. Cyberchum

Posts: 1024; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Virtual assistants while good is so overhyped - not so much now though, unlike in the early days of silly...erhhm Siri. This one right here is another reason to get lazy.

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

android M, facebook M, whats next? experia M? oh wait..

7. 497362

Posts: 60; Member since: Aug 27, 2015

named after a fictitious spy. created by the trustworthy Facebook. chances are it will be "trained and supervised" by the NSA. thus it will certainly pass on your purchases to the relevant authorities, compare them to your officially declared income and calculate how much tax you owe.

8. avinash22i

Posts: 72; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

This is already being implemented in INDIA but the medium is Watsapp. Ask any thing you want from booking movie tickets to delivering fowers to a loved one at a specific time. They just took the concept and added a DIGITAL ASSITANT which can have accses to your smart phone data. CLEVER really CLEVER.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.