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11 January 2018, 08:25 | Clyde Nash
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will have to find a new bot to order his coffee. David Ramos Getty Images
Facebook may have shuttered M, its artificial intelligence chatbot assistant, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Mark Zuckerberg's company's larger AI efforts are on the ropes.
So finally Facebook has announced that the service will shut down for next Friday, Jan. 19. Facebook has now confirmed that it's going to shut down the M virtual assistant on January 19th. If the assistant couldn't complete the task itself, one of its human operators could. Behind the scenes, M relied on humans to answer more complex inquiries from users.
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 limited in its deployment, with M being made available to around 2,000 people, the Verge said, out of 1.3 billionMessenger users. And it would be able compete with Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
"We're taking these useful insights to power other AI projects at Facebook", it added.
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According to a Verge report, employees who were working on M will be accommodated in other departments at the company. Facebook cancelled its original plans to roll the service out broadly to all users. "We continue to be very pleased with the performance of M suggestions in Messenger, powered by our learnings from this experiment". Starting on January 20, all users will only have access to M suggestions, which can now be used for making plans, sending stickers through the Messenger app, and receiving suggestions for payments.
Facebook's virtual assistant is about to be put out to pasture.
The service is now going to live on through M suggestions. There will be more to the story, so be sure to stay tuned in for more details.
Facebook VP of product for MessengerStan Chudnovsky previously outlined big plans for M on a 2017 trip to Australia, telling AdNews at the time the technology would be used to increase interactions with brands on Messenger.
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