Facebook is shuttering M, its personal assistant aided by AI and humans

You will have to make the calls yourselves.
You will have to make the calls yourselves.
Image: Reuters/Eric Thayer
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Facebook is killing a buzzy version of its personal assistant “M,” which was powered by artificial intelligence and real-life humans. The service, which helped people set up appointments and buy things, was available through a Messenger bot—but only to about 2,000 in California people throughout its two-year lifespan.

The company said it would close the project on Jan. 19, The Verge reported. When announced in August 2015, Facebook said M could do more than other AI assistants on the market because it was being “supervised by people.” The company never followed through on plans to roll it on a larger scale.

A Messenger spokesperson said in a statement that Facebook had “learned a lot” from this “experiment,” and would use the insights provided by the M “closed beta project” for its other AI work. The human contractors involved in M will be allocated to other jobs at Facebook, according to The Verge, with the automation, which sends out suggestions to make plans or payments, remaining as a function of the platform.