Creators at Facebook have made another leap in the digital world. They recently launched a new virtual assistant, M, to a select audience specifically located in the San Francisco Bay area. This new virtual assistant is currently in the testing phase and it is undetermined when it will become available to the 700 million worldwide users of Facebook Messenger.
How It Works
M is located within Facebook’s messenger app and is able to complete tasks and find information on your behalf. You will be able to communicate with M just like you would a normal friend. What makes M really unique is that it is not only controlled by artificial intelligence but also by a real human. Unlike Apple’s Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana, M does not rely entirely on technology. Instead of asking questions in a formal manner you can type in a natural, more casual way.
David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging products at Facebook, wrote on his Facebook page that M is “powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.” M produces a unique version of the virtual assistant by delivering services such as booking dinner reservations, travel arrangements, purchasing online products or even delivering gifts to a loved one.
The Human Feature
This isn’t your typical encounter with Siri folks. An interaction with M will feel more like an encounter with a customer service agent on steroids. Have you ever had to make a phone call to your local water company in order to settle your bill or schedule a visit? Well M might be the solution to that occasional annoyance of being put on hold. Marcus said to Wired that so far the most popular request for M is its ability to call your local cable company and wait on hold for you. According to Facebook, M employees are said to have extensive backgrounds in customer service. Facebook predicts that eventually they will have thousands of people employed helping M complete tasks. M’s intuitive ability to take things a step further by completing task itself will be what truly sets it apart.
The Business Opportunity
Just a few months ago, Facebook announced its Business on Messenger feature. This feature allows businesses to provide basic customer service. With M in the picture it’s just a matter of time before this feature becomes the alternative for a lot of businesses costumer service teams. For an example, if you are using M frequently and for the same reason, Facebook will eventually be able to pick up on that and use it to their advantage. It will be assumed that you, the customer, prefer to use the messenger service as opposed to the companies actual costumer service plan. This assumption will be an indicator to businesses that maybe they should have a presence inside the messenger app.
Hold on tight folks, it’s just a matter of time before this revolutionary feature becomes available to you!