Long-gone are the days of using Facebook messenger for simply chatting with friends or exchanging photos from a night out. Now, it looks like we may be able to use the messenger app to fulfil much more than our intrinsic social interaction needs.
While still in its’ beta/testing mode, Facebook’s artificial intelligence assistant M is set to revolutionise the way we use Facebook messenger. Retrieving information from both the web and a human assistant dedicated to answering queries, this chat bot will be able to instantly gather information for you within the app.
From the best local coffee to the cheapest flight tickets, M will scour the web to find you the top options and let you purchase goods without ever having to leave the app. M can also recommend movies that cater to your tastes, make dinner reservations and even help you evade those endless hold times when calling your phone company.
What sets M aside from other virtual assistants such as Siri, Google Now or Cortana, is M’s hybrid use of both AI and human employees, lovingly nicknamed ‘M trainers’, to answer requests. While it may use AI to search up simple requests, human trainers can take over M’s manual searching to help you complete more complex tasks. This may change in the future, however, with claims from that “M learns from human behaviours” opening up the opportunity for it to be a purely AI-led assistant.
Whilst it’s unknown whether businesses will be able to advertise through the app, it’s imperative for companies to invest in social media advertising to be featured within messenger. As M retrieves many product/place reviews from social media websites and blogs, it’s essential that your company’s social media presence is a step above your competitors to have an advantage in this brand new playing field.
Promising that “there will be more innovative developments to come from Messenger this year” Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, David Marcus, gives us hope that M will be available to the general public late-2016. The unparalleled growth of Facebook’s messenger, with an accrued 800 million monthly users, leads us to believe that 2016 is going to be a great year for the app.
Apart from M, here’s what else we can expect to see from Facebook Messenger in 2016: