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  • Artificial Intelligence Lessons from Mark Zuckerbergs Jarvis Assistant

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    With the 2016 coming close, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has completed his personal challenge to built "Jarvis," his AI-powered personal assistant. In his lengthy blog post, Zuck describes the types of tasks his Jarvis bot can accomplish.



    The personal assistant or what few call a butler, is customized to perform multiple actions at Mark’s residence. It can:


    • Communicate on his computer and phone
    • Understand the text messages and Voice commands
    • Learn new words, concepts and patterns
    • Play music based on his own or his wife Priscilla's preference
    • Entertain his daughter Max
    • Control his home appliances
    • And even run face recognition to identify the person at the door


    Mark’s simple AI to run his home -- like Jarvis in Iron Man, uses several AI techniques including speech and face recognition, reinforcement learning, natural language processing. It is written in PHP, Objective C and Python. In coming years, Zuckerberg has expansion plans for his AI Bot, he cited building an Android app and setting up the Jarvis voice terminals in the entire house.  


    He also expressed in details about the challenges he faced while developing the innovative AI software, where is the AI heading and how building the Jarvis Project has turned up to be an ‘intellectual challenge’. One of the important takeaways was ‘although the AI is advancing quickly, it still requires a decent amount of human guidance.’ He further added that ‘I probably wouldn't be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own -- unless I made some fundamental breakthrough in the state of AI along the way.’ He expressed his intent for developing an AI assistant that learns by himself and one fine day, hopes to, open-source his code for the people.


    Let us look at what else does the Facebook CEO believes and further wishes to achieve about the Virtual Assistance and Artificial Intelligence in near future.


    Mobile devices are perfect for AI assistant


    Mobility solutions have made it possible to use any wireless technology that enables the users to keep in touch with the back-end infrastructure, while they roam freely. With digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri making up their ways to all types of mobile gadgets including laptops, smart watches and mobile phones, Mark believes that mobile devices are perfect for the AI assistants. “I want to communicate with Jarvis when I’m not home, so having the phone be the primary interface rather than a home device seems critical,” he wrote.


    Text input is as important as Voice


    Much of the technology industry is focussed on the rise of voice-focussed and video centric interface, especially after the success of Amazon’s Echo, launch of WhatsApp Video Call feature and Facebook’s very own Live feature and Facebook 360. Mark believes in getting the basics right. “One thing that surprised me about my communication with Jarvis is that when I have the choice of either speaking or texting, I text much more than I would have expected,” he wrote. According to him the text input plays an influential role in the way we interact with the AI. Just like Microsoft’s Cortana, an ideal assistant should support both voice and text input.  


    Last but not the least…


    AI should connect to almost everything


    During his personal challenge to build an AI for his home, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg encountered a problem connecting Jarvis with all types of home devices and appliances. He said, ‘For assistants like Jarvis to be able to control everything in homes for more people, we need more devices to be connected and the industry needs to develop common APIs and standards for the devices to talk to each other.’ Major tech companies have started addressing such problems by developing their own smart programs, like HomeKit with Apple and ‘Work with Nest’ and ‘Weave Language’ programs with Alphabet.


    But the reality is infinitely stranger than fiction and inter-communication between the household device seems a distant dream. For example, the HomeKit platform is presently compatible with heating and cooling devices, lights and thermostats, not with cooking or laundry devices. And with a number of smart home platforms available, buyers must commit to one, thereby limiting its use and practicality.


    Although great advances have been made in the field of Artificial Intelligence during last 10 years. AI can be closer to accomplish few things which many people expect like curing a disease, driving a car, etc. But, is farther off than we could imagine in accomplishing the things that will impact the entire humanity.


    J.A.R.V.I.S represented in Jonathan Kolia "Jon" Favreau's directed Hollywood blockbuster 'Iron Man' series is an ideal example of how an AI assistant should behave.


    Zuckerberg's  innovation has opened the way for new opportunities and challenges, taking the Home Automation, Object Recognition, Machine Learning and the Artificial Intelligence to the whole new level. We all have to toil hard to ensure that these technologies are applied for the betterment of human race and it’s existence.


    Hope you liked the article. Share your views in the comment section below.


    Artificial intelligence Machine Learning Object Recognition JARVIS Mark Zuckerberg Mobility SIRI Cortana Google Assistant

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