Mark Zuckerberg Spent 2016 Building Tony Stark's Virtual Assistant

Here's how he did it.

By Evan Bleier

 
Mark Zuckerberg Spent 2016 Building Tony Stark's Virtual Assistant
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20 December 2016

In January, Mark Zuckerberg used a social media platform you’re probably somewhat familiar with to announce he was building his own version of Tony Stark’s AI personal assistant, Jarvis.

In a post this week, Zuck proved that, unlike many other Facebook posts, this one wasn’t a piece of fake news.

According to the 50-Billion-Dollar Man, Jarvis is equipped with language processing and face/voice recognition software that allows it to operate most of the electronic systems in his home, including the lights, doors, music, cameras, heat thermostats and, uh, a T-shirt cannon.

To communicate with the system, Zuckerberg texts commands to it using a modified Facebook Messenger app, and also speaks to it using an app he built and installed on phones that are placed around his home in various locations.

While the system does have its limits — it has trouble understanding synonyms and sometimes gets bogged down understanding anything other than direct commands — it’s advanced enough to have learned both Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla’s musical tastes, Fast Company reported.

After spending 100 hours on the project, Zuckerberg wants to put more time into the system and hopes to teach it “how to learn new skills itself rather than me having to teach it how to perform specific tasks” and possibly even release a version to the public — but not anytime soon.

“Finally, over time it would be interesting to find ways to make this available to the world,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I considered open sourcing my code, but it's currently too tightly tied to my own home, appliances and network configuration. If I ever build a layer that abstracts more home automation functionality, I may release that.”

Un-man the T-shirt cannons.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

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