Google has Google Now, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana — and Facebook has M. According to FB’s own David Marcus, M can do things that the aforementioned AI assistants can’t:
“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.”
Essentially, M can do things for you, on your behalf, including purchases (!). By tapping the icon inside of Messenger, the AI or a real person can pick up the task (the human comes in where the AI might not cope) and stay in touch with you to notify progress — like a real assistant, for instance.
Currently, M is available for a select few SF testers of Messenger, but the future roll out of the technology could prove to be very interesting, granted that it works as well as FB claims it can.