Any technology that only works in English neglects 75% of the world. That problem is especially severe for Facebook with its global userbase. Yet most languages are being left out by the advances in artificial intelligence centered around natural language processing led by researchers in the U.S. and China.
But today marks a milestone for AI accessibility. Facebook Messenger’s artificial intelligence assistant “M” can now make recommendations in Spanish of Messenger features to use if it detects that that’s the language someone writes in. M Suggests rolled them out in English two months ago.
The feature scans the words and intent of your messages, then pops up optional suggestions from Messenger’s many features. Say “Te debo $20” and M suggests the payments feature. Write “Besos!” and it will surface lovey-dovey stickers you can send. Ask “¿Dónde estás?” and M pulls up the location sharing feature.
M Suggestions are now available to all Facebook users with their language set to Spanish in the US, and the feature is rolling out in Mexico.
Hopefully the next step for Messenger will be real-time translation for conversation partners across languages, that way we can connect, get closer, and cooperate with people from different cultures.