Facebook dabbling with digital personal assistant in Messenger app

Say hello to "M." Not exactly the head of a secret intelligence service, there is some artificial intelligence involved.


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Following Apple, Microsoft and Amazon (among many others), Facebook is testing out its own digital personal assistant.

Say hello to "M." Not exactly the head of a secret intelligence service, there is some artificial intelligence involved.

The new function being baked into Facebook's most popular spinoff standalone app, Messenger.

David Marcus, formerly head of PayPal and now running messaging products at Facebook, unveiled the project in a blog post on Tuesday.

"Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf," Marcus explained. "It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more."

One key difference that could set M apart from the likes of Siri and Cortana is that Marcus specified M will be "trained and supervised by people."

That leaves the door open for more of a curated experience, perhaps influenced by analytics or even customer service agents.

However, don't expect to see M doling out directions and advice quite so soon.

No release date has been given, and Marcus noted it is still "early in the journey" to building and pushing out this functionality at scale for Facebook's billions of users worldwide.

Image via Facebook