Facebook has affirmed a report saying it’s currently working on an AI Voice Assistant similar to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The news, first revealed by CNBC, demonstrates Facebook isn’t abandoning a dream it had years before, when it began making an AI assistant for its Facebook Messenger code named “M”.
New Goals for Facebook AI Voice Assistant
This time Facebook is focusing to make Voice Assistant to assist users on hands-free interaction by voice control and probably gesture control as well. “We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson explained to The Verge.
CNBC reported that the team is currently based in Redmond, Washington under the direction of Ira Snyder, a general manager at Facebook Reality Labs and a director of augmented and virtual reality at the company. The project has been in the works since early 2018, shortly before Facebook announced it had shut down its “M” personal assistant service due to the bots creating their own language. Facebook also tried its hand at building bots for various functions, although it seems that it haven’t really taken off.
The Development Teams Behind Facebook AI
This project and various internal divisions seems to indicate Facebook new approach and goals toward experimental technology. Since the company had aquired Oculus in 2013, Facebook has formed a new pair of divisions, one of those is AR/VR hardware group that focuses on the Portal video chatting device, while the second division named “Facebook Reality Labs” is supervised by Michael Abrash, the video game pioneer that holds the title of chief scientist at the VR company.
It seems that the Facebook AI is being jointly built by both teams. Facebook is treating its growing branch of hardware devices as a means to reach the goal where AI is layered throughout Facebook-owned platforms and not restricted to one products.