The concept of AI-based virtual assistant was first sparked by AI-powered chatbots. AI or Artificial Intelligence is a concept where we humans build a machine which can learn by itself. Facebook, joining the bandwagon of AI-powered chatbots yesterday introduced ‘M’ for its Messenger platform. M, AI-powered chatbot, will analyse your conversation on the Messenger app and will jump in pop-up some suggestions when required. As of now, the chatbot is only available in the US under an invite-only system for both Android and iOS although we expect the US-based social network giant to begin the global roll out in coming months.
What can ‘M’ do inside your Messenger App?
Just like any other chatbot, Facebook’s M will be active all the time whenever you are conversing with someone over the platform. So you, if you are in a middle of conversation and type ‘Rajan, owes me Rs 3,500’, Facebook M will pop up various payment options inside the conversation. Or, if you type ‘Bye’, the chatbot will suggest you send a ‘Goodbye GIF’ or something related to that. Apart from this, the AI-powered chatbot can send in stickers on your behalf, call a cab for you (e.g. Uber), starting a poll with your friends and one can also share his/her location. But, this is not all. The new M from Facebook can do everything which you would otherwise do with ‘Touch’ or Gestures on the Messenger app. It can also help you draft a plan for your next trip by pulling out suggestions for places, food, stay etc.
How does Facebook ‘M’ work?
The major issue faced when building an AI-powered chatbot is how to make it capable enough to learn from each and everyone’s own habits. In other words, an AI-powered chatbot can learn but only to a limit to which it is programmed. Facebook M is actually connected to real humans at the back in the initial phase. Facebook M product manager, Laurent Landowski believes that it cannot scale to a million people on its own. Whenever it encounters a new habit or way a person’s usage patterns, it reaches out to the team who then teaches the task to the bot and helps it perform on its own, next time.
How is it difficult from Google Assistant on Allo?
Well, as of now, Facebook M cannot do a web search for you from the app. It also doesn’t have any voice recognition so you have to type in everything. Moreover, you cannot selectively ask Facebook M for something. In other words, it will intervene on its own based on the conversation. So unlike Google Assistant on Allo where you can type @Google to ask some specific questions, Facebook M doesn’t do any of these and to be fair, it is not meant to do that as well. To sum up, Facebook M is not your assistant rather it is Advisor which will jump in when appropriate.And if all this doesn’t appeal you, one can always mute the new Facebook M from Settings.