Facebook wants to build 'your own virtual friend,' and it just took an important step

May 16, 2017 | 1515 Views

Facebook on Monday is releasing new software that artificial intelligence (AI) researchers can use to test their systems for having text conversations with people.

The end goal: to help speed the development of chat bots that seem more human -- without painstakingly training them on millions of different scenarios.

"Ultimately one of the objectives of this is to have your own digital friend, your virtual assistant that is basically customized for you and under your control," Yann LeCun, head of Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group, said in a meeting with reporters.

"Ultimately one of the objectives of this is to have your own digital friend, your virtual assistant that is basically customized for you and under your control," Yann LeCun, head of Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group, said in a meeting with reporters.

The FAIR researchers work closely with the people who develop Facebook M, a virtual assistant that can now do provide location information and other data for you in the Messenger messaging app. Messenger also offers chat bots from companies like Nike, Western Union and Whole Foods. Microsoft's Skype app and privately held Slack's team communication app also let their users talk with third-party bots.

Over time, Facebook hopes that this public testing ground will help make all of these chat bots more useful, and eventually turn them into vital parts of our lives.

"It mediates your interactions with your world, your friends and other people. It helps you go through an incredible amount of information we're bombarded with every day. That will take a while before those things are general enough that they can take care of all the things of a human assistant. We're talking decades." Read More

Source: CNBC