R.I.P., personal assistant you probably never heard of: Facebook says goodbye to 'M'

While it was a neat concept in the beginning, Facebook's innovative personal assistant, M, is finally shutting down after nearly 3 years.

Facebook M, the text-based virtual assistant that used human workers to train an artificial intelligence system, is ending the human-assisted part of the service after two and a half years. The human-enhanced version of M, which was available through a bot on Facebook Messenger, only ever became available to about 2,000 people living in California. The final day of the M virtual assistant will be January 19th, Facebook said, and contractors who worked on it will be offered other jobs at the company. (The Verge)

The app provided an 'ask anything and everything' design that devices like Amazon Echo and Google Assistant would emulate a short time later, but rather than use artificial intelligence, M depended on human beings to get questions answered.

The end-goal of M? To eventually have the humans working there train the original artificial intelligence model to eventually take over for the humans altogether. According to the Verge, people working on M will be offered positions at Facebook.

But if you think Facebook is done with AI for good, you're mistaken:

Facebook now offers AI-powered suggestions in Messenger conversations. For instance, if you're planning to grab drinks with a friend, Messenger can suggest to set up a reminder. If somebody is asking you where you are, M will suggest sending your location. While the name is similar, those AI-powered features are quite different from the concierge feature. But most users never interacted with the personal assistant in the first place. (TechCrunch)

What do you think?

Are you someone who regularly used M? Or did you not even know it existed in the first place… Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments down below!

Cella Lao Rousseau

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau