Facebook have announced their much-rumoured personal assistant that they've been working on the past few months. The assistant, named 'M' works in conjunction with Messenger to answer questions and well, assist you in as many ways as possible.
In a Facebook post, Facebook Messenger lead David Marcus spoke a bit about Facebook’s plans:
"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."
This puts Facebook directly in competition with Apple, Google and Microsoft in the digital personal assistant space.
While it's competitors have relied completely on the science of AI to complete it's tasks, Facebook M uses AI that is “trained and supervised by people”.
We don't know a huge amount about M's capabilities at the moment or even if it's going to be free, it's surely not going to be cheap for Facebook to produce and maintain to a high level of quality.
The rollout will more than likely be slow, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for it for a formal review.