The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group is releasing AI software known as ParlAI that will be used to develop smart chat bots.
ParlAI, pronounced "parlay", is being targeted at areas that will rapidly develop the chat bots conversational abilities, such as restaurant selection and discussion about movies. They want the chat bots to be able to tackle a variety of complex questions in these areas so that the smart chat bots can then, as time goes on, develop into a smart assistant for users capable of much more that may come to be known as Facebook M. This will be based in the messenger app.
ParlAI is being released under open-source licensing, to which the FAIR workers will then be collaborating with the community that takes up the task. It must be noted however that Facebook thinks it wil still be decades before these planned smart assistants are anywhere near being able to offer the help that a human assistant can provide in managing the massive amounts of data in your social network and social media accounts.
It will be interesting to see where this particular AI development goes, or how it will fare alongside, or against the various other AI or personal assistant initiatives being explored by, for example, Google's Deepmind or Microsoft's Cortana.