Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is living at least a few years out ahead of anyone reading this post – the founding executive told an audience in Rome (via Verge) today that he hopes to demonstrate his home’s artificial intelligence system, which controls things like air conditioning, lighting and more based on things like face and voice recognition.
Zuckerberg’s computerized domestic assistant was his “personal challenge” for this year, an annual goal the CEO sets for himself and makes public. Past challenges have included learning Mandarin, and the more modest goal of reading two books every month, which for someone with Zuck’s free time, might actually have been more difficult to achieve than creating a non-destructive HAL 9000 for his sole personal use.
Here’s why his challenge this year isn’t necessarily a personal Waterloo for Zuckerberg: he has the help of “all these Facebook engineers who are doing all this awesome AI work in speech recognition, face recognition,” according to the Q&A, which happened live just a few hours ago.
What exactly can it do? Hopefully we’ll get a full breakdown next month, but he told the people in attendance in Rome that it opens up the security gate at his home automatically when he approaches, and it also responds to voice commands that let him control the temperature (which he noted his wife Priscilla Chan cannot do, because the system is coded to recognize only his voice thus far).
When Zuck first explained what he hoped to be able to do with his home AI when the yearly challenge was complete, he wanted not only smart home device control, but also friend recognition and automatic entry from the security system, as well as alerts for his young daughter when she needs taking care of. I suppose if you’re anticipating a feature where a lot of work gets done in a VR environment, having your own personal Jarvis would come in handy.