Meet Mark Zuckerberg’s Artificially Intelligent Personal Assistant Jarvisby Nawaf Khan December 22, 2016
If you thought Tony Stark’s artificially intelligent personal assistant Jarvis could only be seen in the movies, you’re in for a surprise. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had taken up a personal project some time back and recently posted a video on Facebook detailing what exactly it is. It turns out that Zuckerberg has been developing his own personal home assistant, also called Jarvis (named after Iron Man’s assistant Jarvis).
Zuckerberg’s Jarvis is a simple home assistant on the lines of Amazon Alexa. And it is voiced by none other than Hollywood ‘baritone’ heavyweight Morgan Freeman. The video posted by Zuckerberg details how Jarvis works and shows off its capabilities. Mark’s wife Priscilla Chan and their daughter Max also make an appearance in the video.
So, what can Jarvis do?
Jarvis is almost similar to other home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It follows commands given via Zuckerberg’s smartphone either in text form or voice form. The commands can be conveyed either by a custom-made iPhone app or the Facebook Messenger. Jarvis can perform many home tasks. For example, whenever Zuckerberg’s doorbell rings, Jarvis uses face-detection technology using the door camera, detects the visitors and informs Mark who has arrived at their doorstep. This is a particularly interesting feature that can render the peep-hole obsolete.
Apart from this, Jarvis can also control the lights in Zuckerberg’s home. Mark can turn on or turn off his home lights with simple commands on his phone. Zuckerberg can also control thermostat, play music, toast bread, and even wake up his daughter Max.
But the feature Mark is most proud of is the ability of Jarvis to play music according to the requester’s personal taste. For example, if he asks Jarvis to play some music, Jarvis will detect his voice and play music according to Mark’s taste. On the other hand, if Priscilla gives Jarvis the same command, the AI system takes her taste into consideration. Another video that Mark released showcased the initial trouble that the family had with Jarvis. In a funny instance, Jarvis readily obeyed Mark’s command but had some trouble following his wife’s instructions, much to Priscilla’s annoyance. It was only after some tinkering by the young billionaire that Jarvis began following his wife’s commands.
Imagine waking up and being greeted Good Morning in Morgan Freeman’s voice! Ain’t that something? You’ll want to look up and see whether you’re in the real world or some corner of the Shawshank Prison. But Morgan was not the first person to record for Jarvis. Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger also lent his voice, but they found it a tad too aggressive. So, they chose Morgan Freeman after an online poll.
Zuckerberg’s Jarvis still has a long way to go if it ever wants to come even close to Stark’s version (which is not likely at least for a decade), but it is fascinating to note that Zuckerberg took this up as a personal project and saw varying degrees of success with it. It’s good to see a CEO leading innovation and technology by example.