Facebook pulls the plug on its virtual assistant 'M'

Facebook pulls the plug on its virtual assistant 'M'

Facebook pulls the plug on its virtual assistant 'M'

While the virtual assistant service is going away, Facebook is keeping its M Suggestions feature, which grew out of some of the insights learned by the M project. It added it will use what it's learnt from running M to "power other AI projects at Facebook".

So finally Facebook has announced that the service will shut down for next Friday, Jan. 19.

The idea behind Facebook M was that human beings will train an artificial intelligence system and while it did launch in beta, they had hopes it will be useful over time.

The human-assisted version of the virtual assistant M was available through a bot in the Facebook Messenger app. However, as of now, the company is ending the human side of its digital assistant.

It was only available as a Facebook Messenger bot to a few beta testers living in California. Contractors who worked on this service will get other jobs at Facebook.

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Introduced in 2015, M is powered by Facebook-built AI and offers suggestions in your conversations just like the Google's Allo and perform tasks like location sharing, setting reminders, sending or requesting money and more. The service was first rolled out to 10,000 users on San Francisco. Facebook told The Verge it is "very pleased" with the performance of M suggestions.

So what this experiment basically did was allow Facebook to find out what tasks people would rely on a virtual assistant for and it automated the ones that it could. Starting on January 20, all users will only have access to M suggestions, which can now be used for making plans, sending stickers through the Messenger app, and receiving suggestions for payments. A hint of it was given by those working on Facebook M previous year in a report by The Technology Review.

This is it for now, folks.

Facebook said that complex AI and human interaction were going to fuel M's advancement. One of the prominent changes was the AI's ability to remind users to save content like articles, videos or photos to view them later or share them in message threads.

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