Mark Zuckerberg Channels Inner Iron Man to Build Jarvis-Like System for Home


Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2016 was to build an artificial intelligence system to run his home—”like Jarvis in Iron Man,” he says.

As the year closes, his result is not quite as robust as Jarvis, but Zuckerberg says he learned “more than I expected” during the year-long process.

“I’ve built a simple AI that I can talk to on my phone and computer, that can control my home, including lights, temperature, appliances, music and security, that learns my tastes and patterns, that can learn new words and concepts, and that can even entertain Max,” Zuckerberg wrote online, noting his project leverages natural language processing, speech recognition, face recognition, and reinforcement learning.

Zuckerberg says that building a prototype is not difficult, but the beauty of machine learning lies in big data, which means we need a more robust internet of things.

“For assistants like Jarvis to be able to control everything in homes for more people, we need more devices to be connected and the industry needs to develop common APIs and standards for the devices to talk to each other,” he explains. “The more context an AI has, the better it can handle open-ended requests.”


Zuck’s Jarvis is also remotely controllable via a Messenger bot, which shows how deeply integrated a system Facebook could develop if it used its AI team for this purpose. The social network already heavily utilizes AI but mostly in the background for things like news feed algorithms and facial recognition in photo uploads; Facebook has made no (public) move to develop something like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.

Zuckerberg goes deep into the details of his Jarvis challenge, so if you have Iron Man aspirations of your own, we suggest checking out his full blog post.

“I’d like to explore teaching Jarvis how to learn new skills itself rather than me having to teach it how to perform specific tasks,” Zuck says of future possibilities. He also added: “It would be interesting to find ways to make this available to the world.”

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