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Mark Zuckerberg on building ‘Jarvis’

Early on in 2016, Mark Zuckerberg set out to build a home AI that would be reminiscent of Jarvis in Iron Man - he recently wrote about building this system and the challenges involved in home automation.

In a note written early in December 2016, he explained that he managed to write a simple AI that he can talk to on his phone and computer, which is able to control his home, including lights, temperature, appliances, music and security. It is also capable of learning his tastes and patterns, all while it learns new words and concepts or even entertain his daughter. 

As he set out to build Jarvis, he encountered the first challenge - and possibly one of the biggest challenges of home automation - getting all the different systems to communicate and connect with the AI. 

Why? Firstly, those appliances and systems that are already connected to the internet all use different protocols and computing languages, and secondly not all our appliances are connected to the internet just yet.

However there is a solution in some cases saying that “it's possible to control some of these using internet-connected power switches that let you turn the power on and off remotely. But often that isn't enough. For example, one thing I learned is it's hard to find a toaster that will let you push the bread down while it's powered off so you can automatically start toasting when the power goes on. I ended up finding an old toaster from the 1950s and rigging it up with a connected switch.”

He said that for a home to truly work with a system like Jarvis, more manufactures needed to create appliances that could connect to the internet and “the industry needs to develop common APIs and standards for the devices to talk to each other.”

Zuckerberg wrote that while he made some progress in developing his Jarvis system, spending over a 100 hours on the project, but that while AI is closer than we might think, it is also still far off because we are still struggling to understand how learning works. 

And while it is already possible to have some automation in your home, true home automation such as Tony Stark’s Jarvis is still stuff of comic book legend. However, we wouldn’t bet against it happening in the future either - who knows maybe one day we will be the first portal to showcase a fully automated home!

Take a look at the video Mark posted as a fun summary (and not as a live demo) of his Jarvis system:




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