Main image of article Mark Zuckerberg Building Home A.I.
Lots of people made New Year’s resolutions. Mark Zuckerberg’s were a little more ambitious than eating right or exercising more. “My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work,” the social-networking CEO wrote in a new Facebook posting. “You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in ‘Iron Man.’” For those who don’t watch Marvel’s superhero movies, Jarvis is a voice-controlled A.I. system that helps Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) not only control every feature of his fabulous mansion, but also build high-tech power armor. “I’ll start by teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home—music, lights, temperature and so on,” Zuckerberg continued. “I’ll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell… On the work side, it’ll help me visualize data in VR to help me build better services and lead my organizations more effectively.” Zuckerberg isn’t the first tech CEO to propose building an A.I. system to help with work. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (whom the press frequently compares to Tony Stark) once claimed he uses a gesture-controlled holographic system to build rockets. “I am not going to make an [Iron Man] suit,” Musk joked on Twitter in 2013. “However design by hand-manipulated hologram is actually useful.” Just because Zuckerberg builds a functioning A.I. in his home doesn’t mean that Facebook: Home Control Edition is imminent (just picture your fridge refusing to open until you click ‘Like’ on a 30-second ad). Nonetheless, the projects that tech CEOs decide to pursue have a funny way of becoming commercialized within a few years. Certainly there’s been growing interest in artificial intelligence as a profession; the rise of home-based A.I. platforms, in conjunction with the Internet of Things, could supercharge the amount of interest (and jobs) in the category.