What's New at Facebook Messenger: Chabots and Artificial Intelligence


Facebook has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) startup Ozlo to help Facebook Messenger build out "experiences powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning." According to the company's website, the startup has built a knowledge graph containing over two billion entities and created AI technology that uses this data to understand real-world nuances. Ozlo, based in Palo Alto, CA, was founded four years ago.

Facebook's virtual assistant, goes by the name of M, and, according to Business Insider, Facebook has integrated some automated M capabilities into the Messenger app, but a the full-fledged M virtual assistant is still only available to a very limited set of test users.

Facebook also just launched Messenger Platform 2.1, which includes new features aimed at enriching conversational experiences on Messenger. For one, the updated Messenger has built-in Natural language processing (NLP) to enhance automated conversations.

According to the company on the Messenger website, this is a simple way for developers to incorporate NLP into their chatbots.

"When Built-in NLP is enabled it automatically detects meaning and information in the text of messages that a user sends, before it gets passed to the bot. This first version can detect the following entities: hello, bye, thanks, date & time, location, amount of money, phone number, email and a URL. This is the first step in bringing NLP capabilities to all developers, enabling brands to scale their experiences on Messenger."

The company has also added a feature to promote hybrid chatbots. Hybrid chatbots allow customers to get simple answers to their questions through automation, and then flip over to human customer service agents for the harder questions. Messenger's new handover protocol enables businesses to be able to move seamlessly from an automated (bot) to a one-to-one (human) conversation. It also makes it possible for multiple service providers to power a single Messenger experience.

According to the post, Sephora will be implementing handover protocol soon, incorporating experiences from Assi.st and Sprinklr.

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