In news that could be crippling for executive assistants worldwide, Facebook recently announced it is beta testing a new A.I. based personal assistant within Facebook Messenger, cutely dubbed M. While it’s still unclear whether or not M will be voiced by Judi Dench’s MI6 head honcho from the James Bond franchise, it’s already boasting one significant upgrade and improvement over dastardly competitor Siri: M can not only talk back and answer questions for you, but it can actually complete tasks for you. It unfortunately cannot telepathically read your thoughts and ask your requests for you to complete our transition into lazy bags of flesh…yet, that is.
So just what all can almighty M do for you? Well, according to Facebook Messenger Chief David Marcus, M can make reservations and purchases, schedule appointments and book travel arrangements for you so you don’t have to lift a finger. Well, except the one you use to open Facebook Messenger to access
the help M. Marcus revealed that M is an artificial intelligence entity that is monitored, trained and supervised by the increasingly irrelevant species, Homo sapien.
Due to the presence of humans behind the bells and whistles of M’s highfaluting A.I. tech, M can understand and process conversational queries and rhetoric and act accordingly on them within Facebook. Backed by what Facebook calls M trainers, the seamless integration of people and technology is being touted as revolutionary by Facebook, placing M above other similar virtual assistants from Microsoft and Google by promising that this bold partnership between man and machine will ensure that every request is answered to complete and utter satisfaction. Marcus notes that M does have the ability to learn by itself over time, and that as the program evolves, it could eventually outgrow the need for M trainers. But for now, Facebook is contracting out these positions and expects to employ thousands of them over time as M expands to reach more users.
M is no doubt Marcus’s high-profile attempt to drive more mobile users to Facebook and Facebook Messenger, something he was brought on by the company to do and has succeeded in doing thus far – in two years, Facebook Messenger’s usage has tripled to more than 700 million users. The more people are driven to access and utilize Facebook’s features on mobile, such as handy ol’ M, the closer Facebook will be to reaping revenue from activity conducted on mobile services.
The experimental stage with M is still in its nascent stages, and there’s no word on just how many lucky ducks are benefitting from M doing mundane chores and tasks for them as Facebook continues to work out the kinks so that M doesn’t become sentient and naturally take over the world. According to Wired, though, the testing is exclusively based to Bay Area Facebook users because Silicon Valley gets everything nice. With applications that could prove to have far-reaching impacts on artificial intelligence, businesses worldwide and our society as a whole, M looks to be on a fast-paced trajectory to monopolize the manner in which we get daily tasks done, one Facebook message at a time.