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M: Facebook Announces Siri-Like “Personal Digital Assistant”
Apple’s Siri really took off like wildfire, becoming a pop culture phenomenon in addition to a convenient way to get directions or answer simple questions. Now Facebook is doing Siri one better with its own “personal digital assistant” that will be gradually rolled out within Facebook Messenger. It’s called, simply, M.
Fritz Lang connotations aside, the goal is that M will be the next-best thing to having an actual personal assistant or a Starkian JARVIS robot friend. Here’s David Marcus, Vice President of Facebook’s M project:
“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.
This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it’s an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives.”
Don’t start getting excited for M yet, though – it’s set to roll out slowly but surely, first in select Bay Area users’ Messenger accounts, followed by (according to plan, anyway) a wider roll-out. And in a couple years’ time, the movie Her might start seeming a little more credible. In the meantime, you can read more about the project over at The Verge right here.