It won’t take long for Messenger’s users to realize M can accomplish much more than your standard digital helper, suspects David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook. “It can perform tasks that none of the others can,” Marcus says. That’s because, in addition to using artificial intelligence to complete its tasks, M is powered by actual people.
Companies from Google to Taskrabbit are engineering products to act as superpowered personal assistants. Some, like Apple’s Siri, Google Now, or Microsoft’s Cortana, rely entirely on technology, and though they can be used by a lot of people, their range of tasks remains limited.
Others, like startups Magic and Operator or gig-economy companies like TaskRabbit, employ people to respond to text-based requests. These services can get nearly anything done—for a much smaller number of folks.
M is a hybrid. It’s a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence as well as a band of Facebook employees, dubbed M trainers, who will make sure that every request is answered.
We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do. David Marcus
Facebook’s goal is to make Messenger the first stop for mobile discovery.