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In an age of Alexa, Cortana, the Google Assistant and Siri, Facebook wanted to provide the world with an assistant that could do more. In 2015 the company launched M in its Messenger chat app.
M wasn't just another chatbot that was trained to provide text responses based on previous conversations, using artificial intelligence. It had the power to take care of practically any task, as long as it wasn't illegal, because people were really doing the work. It was limited in its deployment, with M being made available to around 2,000 people, the Verge said, out of 1.3 billion Messenger users.
Last year Facebook altered M by introducing automatic actions and responses into Messenger conversations for millions of people. And on Monday, the company finally did away with the human-powered version of M altogether.
Relative to Facebook's expansive use of AI, M assistant was never very significant. Every day, for billions of people, Facebook counts on AI to make sense of text, speech, photos and videos.
Here's an incomplete list of ways Facebook uses AI at a bigger scale than the full-blown M assistant.
Facebook first established its AI research lab in 2013, and the company has for it. With that commitment, Facebook's use of AI is only going to increase.