What’s better than an Alexa or a Google Home virtual assistant? Building one yourself, making it meet all your personal specs, having it customized to interact with all the members of your household, and getting to name it Jarvis after Tony Stark’s VA in Ironman. Of course, when you’re Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, this just becomes a little side project that you throw together, then blend it seamlessly into your house.
The social media It Boy created a more app-based VA rather than the widely popular plugged in towers that Amazon and Google have launched, one that does everything from random household tasks like answering the door to interacting with his daughter. The real innovation to his hobby-creation is that – much like Facebook itself is supposed to do for all of us – it learns his likes and dislikes as it goes.
One of his company’s long-time projects has involved facial recognition, so of course that functionality is built-in as well. Jarvis can figure out who is speaking to him by facial recognition as well as voice patterns, so that when Zuckerberg asks for music it plays his favorites without clarification as to who is speaking, as opposed to someone else in the household asking Jarvis to play music.
According to a Facebook post about this project, Zuckerberg acknowledged that one of the hardest things to incorporate was the true Jarvis-style functionality of other objects in the home. Without more connected appliances, it’s hard for a VA to activate them. Of course, with the recent hijacking of IoT devices that were employed in a large-scale DDoS attack that shut down sites like Facebook for the better part of a day, Zuckerberg might not be in a hurry to connect all of his appliances just yet.
While the scope of this Jarvis project amounts to basically tinkering in the garage after work, it will be interesting to see if this is coming to a Facebook store near you anytime soon. More likely, the innovation will work its way into products already on the market… for the right price, of course.
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