Personalogistics, now and then.

Facebook: August 2015:

Today we’re beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people. Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more. This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it’s an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives.

Business Week: September 1998

Root.net Inc., a New York startup, thinks it has the solution for on-the-go executives who don’t have a personal assistant. “We’re talking about people who have more money than time — the harried digital professional,” says 28-year old Seth Goldstein, who co-founded Root.net in March. At its most basic, Root is a secretary, consultant, and technical adviser all wrapped into one. It offers the personal touch to those whose work and home lives have become increasingly automated. “People want the efficiency they’ve learned to get from ATMs and computer screens, but on the other hand, it’s reassuring to have the human element,” says Baruch College Professor Leon Schiffman, who handled consumer focus groups for Root. How will it work? As the service begins signing up members this fall, customers will be able to contact Root via the Web, phone, or E-mail. Root employees then use every technology at hand — the phone, computers, the Net — to book hotel reservations and make last-minute changes in meeting schedules. They recommend and purchase technology products. And they help customers figure out which software to use.