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Facebook Artificial Intelligence

facebooks M
18 Feb 2016

Could Facebook Artificial Intelligence Change the Way We Do Business?

Unless you live in San Francisco, there’s a good chance you might not even be aware of M, Facebook’s new virtual assistant that works via the Messenger app and relies on artificial intelligence to answer questions, set up appointments, give directions, and pretty much anything else you ask it to do. M is Facebook’s non-gender specific answer to virtual assistants (think Siri) but is still in development and relies on people working behind the scenes.

Alex Kantrowitz, reporter for BuzzFeed, was one of the lucky few who got to beta test M, and reports on his exclusive experience here. Facebook’s AI sends Alex gifs, draws him pictures, and purchases Star Wars tickets like a personal assistant, but refuses to draw Mark Zuckerberg on a volcano.

How Does Facebook’s M Work?

According to David Marcus, Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging, M is artificial intelligence, so its capabilities are limitless, but it still relies on what Facebook likes to call “trainers.” The trainers are independent contractors, most with a college degree and a background in customer service.

Essentially, when someone initiates a conversation with M through the Facebook Messenger app, the artificial intelligence side of M gets the first attempt at an answer. However, before the person texting M sees the response, it is shown to a trainer. The trainer then sends on the response as is, edits it, or writes a completely different answer. So when someone is chatting with M, they might actually be corresponding with a human and they would be none the wiser.

As time goes on, and more questions are answered and problems are solved, M becomes smarter. It remembers everything it ever processes, and as any artificial intelligence does, it adapts along the way to become even better at its job.

What is the Future of Facebook Artificial Intelligence?

Facebook is very clear that the road to their big vision for M is long. They have a lot to work through, but they are extremely optimistic for M’s future. As more and more people start using M for requests, it will become clear what the people want, and they will adjust their offerings accordingly. For example, in its beginnings, M would draw pictures for people on demand, but since that is pretty much impossible to automate, now it just responds saying that it can’t. (bummer)

What Facebook Has to Gain

So what does any of this have to do with business? The end goal is to take some of the search business by offering a one-stop shop for everything from placing online orders to making travel arrangements. Instead of opening up Google when seeking information, Facebook hopes people will open their Messenger app and initiate a conversation with M.

To learn more about Facebook artificial intelligence, or to explore new ways to boost your digital marketing campaign, contact Zero Gravity Marketing today.