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Facebook says its AI work is alive and well, even after closing M

Facebook says its AI work is alive and well, even after closing M
[Photo: courtesy of Facebook]

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.

In its story on M’s demise, BuzzFeed suggested that AI was once something with unlimited potential and support at Facebook, but now has been put on the backburner as the company is forced to deal with fallout from its role in the 2016 elections. “Now that Facebook’s platform has been undermined by fake news, graphic violent content, and a Kremlin-linked campaign to sow chaos ahead of the US presidential election,” BuzzFeed wrote, “there are more pressing issues.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the M Concierge service is dead, but he chalked it up to the company not getting what it wanted from M, and he said it’s not at all accurate that AI is getting short shrift going forward.

“Basically the types of stuff they were learning from an AI perspective wasn’t worth maintaining the service,” the spokesperson told Fast Company. “The language/conversational understanding work is super strong across the product and research” realms.

Further, he said, Facebook is moving “full steam ahead” with M Suggestions, the recommendation element of the chatbot.