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First, it was Apple with the Siri digital assistant, then Google came in with Google Now and just recently, Microsoft was at it again with Cortana.

It is now the turn of Facebook M, a digital assistant that is powered by artificial intelligence and honestly, it might just have a bit of an edge for playing catch up to the earlier AI-based personal digital assistants.

The advantage that Facebook M has over Siri, Google Now, Cortana and other digital assistants is not as a result of the brilliance of the social giant in AI-based procedures. However, it is due to the fact that Facebook is basically doing something different with this new digital assistant; something that its competitors are not doing. M will not only be powered by AI, but this technology will also be supplemented by human intelligence.

Facebook M is actually artificial intelligence with a human touch

The new Facebook M digital assistant will come pre-installed in the Messenger app. Even though the service is not yet in vast usage, those within the San Francisco Bay Area can get access to this service and eventually, all Messenger users will be able to access it.

Just like the rest of the personal assistants such as Siri, Google Now and Cortana, M has the ability to take requests and provide you with personalized results. For instance, you can easily get details of the best place to get a burger from M. Unlike the other assistants which are basically voice-command based, Messenger’s M makes use of text-based commands and users will interact with it in the same way they do with their Messenger contacts in a chat.

Differences with other digital assistants

As noted earlier, Facebook M has some slight differences from its counterparts. For instance, M can take in more sophisticated reservations as opposed to Siri. The service can be used to book a trip, suggest and deliver gifts as well as ask follow-up questions just in case it didn’t understand your requests properly. This is what gives this service an edge over the others – the human advantage. The human helpers that Facebook will employ to provide M with the necessary assistance are known as M Trainers.

Even if the human element will not be present in each and every interaction with Facebook M, it is a very ingenious move by the company. This will for sure take care of the many things that the current virtual assistants can’t really take care of as M Trainers will be handy to take care of them.

Facebook might get rid of M Trainers in future

The future of M might be clear, but that of the M Trainers is not clear just yet. According to Facebook, the new M feature will not just come in with a new human-assisted AI technology, but the assistant is also meant to learn from the conversations you have had with it in the past. In so doing, it will provide you with suggestions to your requests based on these previous interactions.

It is also thought that once Facebook M has acquired enough human knowledge from the M Trainers, there tenure might be terminated. Even though this might take some time, we might in the end see M working on its own. If Facebook manages to install M in all of the over 700 million devices that use the application on a monthly basis, it will be way ahead of Siri and other personal digital assistants.