Facebook is rolling out its answer to Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. But instead of using only artificial intelligence to answer your questions, Facebook's assistant is augmented by real human brainpower. Meet M, Facebook's new personal assistant.
Unlike Siri and Cortana, M won't have a voice. Once it's fully rolled out, M will live in Facebook's Messenger app, and you'll communicate via text. It can tell you jokes like all the others, but it goes beyond its competitors by making appointments for you or booking hotels.
Artificial intelligence only goes so far, so Facebook has a team backing up the technology, real humans who help M along. Thus, as David Marcus, Facebook's VP of Messenger products, said in a press release, "Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf."
Another big difference between M and Siri or Cortana is that it's not clued in to all of your personal information, it doesn't have access to all of the data that the latter two require. M will only know what you type. This means two things: It's not as tuned to you personally as Siri or Cortana or Google Now try to be, but your information's also more secure. We think that's likely a good thing.
Facebook M will begin rolling out for Messenger on iPhones and Androids over the next few months. Keep checking back to our Happening Now page for all the latest tech news.