Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Facebook to shut down its 'M' digital assistant service

Facebook to shut down its 'M' digital assistant service

M will only be around until January 19th and the contractors who were working on it for the past couple of years will be offered other jobs within Facebook. Now they have made a decision to take the "useful insights" that they learned from the two and a half years of its existence and use this to improve and power the other AI projects of the company. The digital assistant was part of the company's Messenger platform and used human workforce to train the built-in artificial intelligence system.

A spokesperson declined to explain specifically why M was being killed off, how many human handlers it had, and how much money was blown on research and development for the project.

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Unfortunately, the human-supervised version of M has never expanded beyond a small pool of users living in California, which consisted of about 2,000 people, according to The Verge.

The lesson that should be learned from M is clear: it's 2018, and digital assistants still suck. Amazon and Google were also able to improve their assistant with better and more accurate results for users.

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If you were a user of the M virtual assistant, it will live on for them - sort of. "We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment".

After January 19, users will have access to Facebook's M suggestions that can be used for event planning, payment transfers and sending stickers through Messenger application. There were warning sirens going off in April previous year when it emerged that when M faced questions it couldn't understand, it would fall back to a team of humans to answer the queries. There will be more to the story, so be sure to stay tuned in for more details.

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Facebook announced it is shutting down its M personal assistant service that combined both humans and AI. One of the prominent changes was the AI's ability to remind users to save content like articles, videos or photos to view them later or share them in message threads.

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