Home Technology Apps Facebook kills M, his ‘chatbot’ and personal assistant

Facebook kills M, his ‘chatbot’ and personal assistant

But it maintains the "Suggestions M" function that appears in the Messenger chats.

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Facebook kills M, his 'chatbot' and personal assistant
Facebook kills M, his ‘chatbot’ and personal assistant

 

Facebook M is about to disappear.

The social network is closing its chatbot virtual assistant, which uses a combination of human contractors and artificial intelligence software to answer queries and perform tasks for people in the Facebook Messenger application.

The robot M, announced for the first time in August 2015 and still in beta, will close on January 19, the company said Monday.

When someone asked M a question, the Artificial Intelligence software produced an answer. The answers were reviewed by human contractors to see if the software was on the right track. If the answer had been sufficient, it was sent back to the user. Facebook has had contractors available for the M 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Although the virtual assistant service is gone, Facebook maintains its “Suggestions M” function, which emerged from some of the ideas learned by Project M. The function appears in the Messenger chats and suggests answers and other actions based on the conversation you are having.

“We launched this project to learn what people needed and expected from an assistant, and we learned a lot,” said a Facebook spokeswoman. “We are taking this useful knowledge to boost other Artificial Intelligence projects on Facebook.”

This is the modus operandi of Facebook, using human contractors to help train their algorithms. The company used the same method when it had contractors working on its controversial current issues feature. Facebook eventually got rid of the contractors and went on to rely on their algorithms to drive the product.

But turning M off seems like a change in Facebook’s vision plans. According to reports, Messenger boss David Marcus said in 2015 that Facebook had a “good chance” to scale the product.

In recent years, Facebook has made large investments in AI. The company has two divisions dedicated to artificial intelligence: AML, Applied Machine Learning and FAIR, Facebook AI Research. But the company is not the only giant of technology that has made a big push for artificial intelligence. For example, rival Google has its DeepMind lab, famous for its AlphaGo software.

Facebook is also closing its M bot just as its competitors are increasing their own digital assistants. Both Amazon and Google are trying to get their Alexa and Assistant programs, respectively, in the hands and homes of more users.

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