Do you recall Facebook discussing the idea of introducing a virtual assistant? Well, its happening and the social network is testing out “M”, an artificial intelligence-powered Messenger assistant that can answer questions and complete tasks such as making dinner reservations, travel arrangements and even book appointments. Having things constantly added to my to-do list, M will definitely be an asset to help tick some of those tasks off.
It is similar to the likes of other digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Now however “M” will be a virtual assistant powered by both artificial intelligence as well as actual Facebook employees. Facebook M will use people also known as M Trainers to help answer your questions with a personalized touch. Overtime, M will become more and more aware as it learns to analyze not only the data and questions it’s asked, but also the preferred responses and feedback it returns to its users. Such improvements will come naturally as the assistant is used more, but also through the backend monitoring and guidance of the very real human team. Fortunately, this is necessary as we have yet to face the issues of ‘Skynet’ becoming self-aware.
M has no gender in comparison to its competitors. You can acquire information by texting or via a recorded audio; however M will only reply in the form of text.
Communication between companies and people are becoming more digital and M is a great addition to digital communication. Despite the already convincing features, business opportunities that M could offer for enterprises are several. Facebook already assists companies with customer service via the Messenger app helping Facebook fans with inquiries, and information regarding a company’s product or service.
M will have the option for payment methods within the app, customer can purchase goods by clicking “get” and the virtual assistant will place your order and process your payments. Having the accessibility and ease of shopping on Facebook can be capitalized by businesses and allows them another venue for their products to be acquired. Companies can keep track of what will influence consumers’ purchase decisions, their buying behavior and their most popular products. As someone constantly stressing the ever-growing importance of social media marketing, I can see this becoming increasingly popular very quickly.
Facebook’s virtual assistant will only mine information from previous conversations and not from your social data on Facebook to further improve their customer service. After all, what good is an excellent product without the service?
Consumers will use “M” Messenger service to contact the company instead of sending emails, calling them or visiting the inquiry form on their website. Consumers can share audio and video files, images, and location map with businesses and vice versa. In terms of instant messaging, “M” will revolutionize the way businesses and consumers communicate, something we can all look forward to.