Facebook's killing its digital assistant M later this month


First announced in 2015, M used human trainers to guide Facebook's artificial intelligence system.

Mark Zuckerberg and co. says it learned a lot with Facebook M and will be using the insights on other AI-based projects.

Finally, the company has said in a statement to The Verge that the whole human-supervised project was an experiment from the beginning and that it now plans to relocate the personnel who worked at the back-end of M to other posts inside the company. However, as of now, the company is ending the human side of its digital assistant. Behind the scenes, M relied on humans to answer more complex inquiries from users.

The human-enhanced version of M is available via a bot on Facebook Messenger and is only available to about 2,000 people living in California. 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. Eventually it would be able compete with Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Amazon's Alexa. The company used the same method when it had contractors working on its controversial trending news topics feature. "We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment".

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If you were a user of the M virtual assistant, it will live on for them - sort of. Facebook cancelled its original plans to roll the service out broadly to all users.

Facebook's virtual assistant was pretty unique compared to the rest of the digital assistants on the market.

Though M has seen its last days, Facebook will keep its M "suggestion" feature, which jumps into conversations on its own, in order to suggest relevant stickers or to offer to schedule a meeting.

This is it for now, folks. M could answer a Facebook user's queries on the Messenger app about gift recommendations and table reservations at restaurants, among other services. Share your views with us in the comments section below.