INNOVATION

Mark Zuckerberg Built An AI Assistant That Has Morgan Freeman's Voice

His challenge to run 365 miles in 2016 actually took longer.

21/12/2016 10:42 AM AEDT | Updated 24/12/2016 10:21 AM AEDT
Mariana Bazo / Reuters

Got a New Years resolution? Maybe it's to lose weight, meditate or be nicer to strangers?

Mark Zuckerberg's was to build an artificially intelligent assistant and that's exactly what he's done.

He posted a blog to Facebook explaining how in just 100 hours he created Jarvis -- who can now control aspects of his house such as music, security and heating.

"My personal challenge for 2016 was to build a simple AI to run my home -- like Jarvis in Iron Man," Zuckerberg wrote in the blog.

Zuckerberg put out a call earlier this year to see who he could find to voice Jarvis, Robert Downey Jr. even jumped in to offer to lend his signature voice.

He settled on the dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman for Jarvis, debuting a cheeky video that summarises how the AI works around the house.

"I've built a simple AI that I can talk to on my phone and computer, that can control my home, including lights, temperature, appliances, music and security," Zuckerberg said.

"That learns my tastes and patterns, that can learn new words and concepts, and that can even entertain Max," he explains impressively.

Jarvis uses not one but several artificial intelligence techniques to perform these tasks. These include natural language processing, speech, recognition, face recognition and reinforcement learning.

He explained in his post that one of the most complicated parts of building the AI was getting different systems in his home to communicate and connect with one another.

"Before I could build any AI, I first needed to write code to connect these systems, which all speak different languages and protocols," he explained.

Jarvis is incredible; Zuckerberg worked out a way to communicate with it using predominately natural language, so his family could talk to it in the same manner you would to anyone -- with the option to do this through text message or speech which it will then translate into text.

Cool.

Visual and face recognition is used by Jarvis to determine whether to let guests into the house. It also can recognise when Max (Zuckerberg's daughter) is awake so it can play music or kick off a Mandarin lesson.

Messenger bots are the way of the future, so no wonder Zuckerberg used a bot to communicate with Jarvis.

"In the middle of the day, if someone arrives at my home, Jarvis can text me an image and tell me who's there, or it can text me when I need to go do something," he said.

Zuckerberg has also managed to build in some humour. He's taught Jarvis some cheeky lines like: "I'm sorry, Priscilla. I'm afraid I can't do that".

Zuckerberg closed his detailed analysis by delving into the bigger picture to speculate on the real, impending future of AI in the society we live in.

"AI is closer to being able to do more powerful things than most people expect -- driving cars, curing diseases, discovering planets, understanding media. Those will each have a great impact on the world, but we're still figuring out what real intelligence is," he said.

Welcome to the future.


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