Facebook acquires AI startup to make Messenger chatbots better

Facebook has acquired Ozlo, an AI startup based in Palo Alto, California, for an undisclosed amount. The team will be folded into Facebook’s Messenger AI operation.

Ozlo built an AI agent capable of understanding text-based conversations, pulling from a knowledge graph of two billion entities to help answer user queries.

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Before the site was pulled, Ozlo showed an example of a user asking if a restaurant is “group friendly”, and the AI agent finding the correct information from the internet and reviews to answer the query.

Ozlo uses “probabilistic assertions of truth”, allowing the AI agent to provide answers with more depth than other assistants. Instead of simply listing what the reviews say or giving a yes or no answer, Ozlo uses data gathered to “understand real-life nuances.”

Most of the 30 employees will move to the Messenger team, where they will work on existing AI efforts, according to Re/Code.

Facebook’s AI agents are all embedded into the Messenger platform. Users receive suggestions when a certain word or phrase has been said, like “book an Uber” or “where are you?”, and M will load the appropriate app or service.

The social network has also launched chatbots, which allow customers to send queries to brands and receive instant replies. There are hundreds of bots available, although most of them have a human on standby to handle any issues.

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