Facebook M is an bit of an experiment in artificial intelligence (AI) to create a digital assistant. The assistant runs on Messenger, Facebook’s messaging app, and it’s being marketed as a tool that will do things even the best-known assistants, Apple Siri and Google Now, can’t, such as make an appointments or buy a gift for a friend. But the trick is that M is actually powered by people so not a fully automate AI, but the hope is that in tracking the humans responses, Facebook can build an artificially intelligent system that behaves like people.

Released in August to a small gathering in San Fran but yet to be shown in the public domain keeping M behind closed doors. In the last week though an American company called Usertesting invited an unnamed tester to get to grips with M.

Usertesting stated

“Our test participant was impressed with how much M could do, but was sometimes disappointed at how long it took,” UserTesting’s report reads. “He concluded that it would be very useful if he could set it to perform a non-­urgent tasks for him while he worked on other things.”

Usertesting have also stated that the test user was impressed by the contextual understanding of M.

“The user appreciated that M understands the context of the conversation, so he could simply ask it to ‘make a reservation there’ and it would understand where ‘there’ was, unlike Siri,” the report says.

Check out the video of M by Facebook being put through its paces!

Everything is point to towards a step forward in this type of AI with M but there is still some way to go as the amount of time the test user said it took for M to formulate a response was slow.

This looks exciting but still very early in development, It will be interesting to follow M’s progression and see how much of leap it can make on others.

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