Order bouquet, dinner with Facebook’s online assistant


Facebook recently began limited testing of an online personal assistant, called ‘M’ that uses a combination of human workers and software to answer questions and carry out tasks like ordering food or flowers for a friend, Daily Mail reported.

“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,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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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,” the spokesperson added.

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Only a few hundred people are believed to have access to the service.

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To use ‘M’, users have to tap a small button at the bottom of the Messenger app to send a note.

Its software will decode the natural language, ask follow-up questions in the message thread, and send updates as the task is completed.

In internal tests, Facebook employees have been using ‘M’ for several weeks to do everything from organising dinner parties to tracking down an unusual beverage in New Orleans, according to Wired.

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“An engineer went to Paris for a couple days, and his friend asked M to redecorate his desk in a French style,” Marcus told the site.

“Twenty-four hours later, the desk was decorated with a proper napkin, baguette bread, and a beret.”

‘M’ learns from human behaviours.


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