Facebook launches virtual assistant M to compete with Siri and Cortana

By Lorraine Caballero , Christian Post Contributor

August 28, 2015|7:37 am

Facebook has launched its own virtual assistant called M to compete with Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

The new Facebook virtual assistant is incorporated in the Messenger app. But unlike its competitors, M does not rely totally on artificial intelligence but also uses real human beings to accomplish tasks and provide answers to questions, according to CNBC.

“It’s powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that’s trained and supervised by people,” CNBC quotes David Marcus, the vice president for Facebook Messenger.

What sets M apart from Siri, Google Now, and Cortana is its ability to complete tasks for the user. It can buy items and have it delivered to target recipients, book travel and dining arrangements, and even set appointments, Marcus explained.

Behind M is a group of humans dubbed as the “M Trainers” who answer questions directed at Facebook’s virtual assistant. Once a user types in a question, M will carry out the task using either its AI or one of the M Trainers.

Although M does not use Facebook data to accomplish tasks as of now, Marcus revealed that they are planning to do so sooner or later, the report adds.

M is clearly a hybrid online assistant because it can do things that no other similar products can do. However, M still has a long way to go because Facebook still does not have its own operating system, like its rivals do, Wired reports.

To launch M, users simply need to tap the small button at the lower part of the Messenger app and type in their queries. This works just like sending a message to a Facebook user. M will then process the query and send follow-up questions via the chat thread. The user will receive an update after the task is done, the report details.

Facebook aims to dethrone Google and other ruling tech giants by positioning the Messenger app as the number 1 place for information search. M not only provides information but also carries out tasks on behalf of its users.

At present, M is still at the trial phase, but Facebook is aiming to make it a main revenue stream if the concept takes off and its virtual assistant gains a certain number of users.

Source: Facebook launches virtual assistant M to compete with Siri and Cortana

Via: Google Alerts for AI

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