It will be interesting to see where Facebook plans to apply what it has learned from its assistant M at the time when companies like Google, Amazon and Apple are increasingly pooling in more resources on artificial intelligence and machine learning and have already made a mark in the industry.
The project will officially shut down on January 19, Facebook said.
The lesson that should be learned from M is clear: it's 2018, and digital assistants still suck.
Facebook is also shutting down its M bot just as its competitors are ramping up their own digital helpers.
M, which was first announced in August 2015, used a mixture of artificial intelligence and human "trainers", to answer Facebook user's questions in the Messenger app.
It was only available as a Facebook Messenger bot to a few beta testers living in California. It added that, "We're taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook". Contractors who worked on this service will get other jobs at Facebook.
So what this experiment basically did was allow Facebook to find out what tasks people would rely on a virtual assistant for and it automated the ones that it could. There were warning sirens going off in April past year when it emerged that when M faced questions it couldn't understand, it would fall back to a team of humans to answer the queries. If you're wondering what it will be used for, these Suggestions will provide assistance to users for sending payments, stickers, help make plans and much more. "We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment".
This was long before the virtual assistant became such a huge deal and Facebook operated the system differently. There will be more to the story, so be sure to stay tuned in for more details.
Last year Facebook altered M by introducing automatic actions and responses into Messenger conversations for millions of people. One of the prominent changes was the AI's ability to remind users to save content like articles, videos or photos to view them later or share them in message threads.