There are a lot of takeaways here:
1. This was Mark Zuckerberg's New Year resolution at the end of 2015. To build his own version of Tony Stark/Iron Man's Jarvis this year. That it is December now and he has completed his mission says a lot about perseverance. Seeing something through to the end. New Year resolutions, anyone?
2. Also, the man is the CEO of Facebook. But he didn't let his executive position get in the way of his geeky side. Deep down, he's still a techie at heart, and the fact that he's found the time and patience to make something like this work is commendable.
3. Guys! He just made his own Jarvis, for fuck's sake! Isn't that motivation enough? If you really want to, you really can. If you believe, sky is the limit. Yada yada. You get the drift...
It was quite a complex task and took up a lot of Zuckerberg's time in 2016. Here's what he has to say:
My personal challenge for 2016 was to build a simple AI to run my home -- like Jarvis in Iron Man. So far, 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, that learns my tastes and patterns, that can learn new words and concepts, and that can even entertain Max. It uses several artificial intelligence techniques, including natural language processing, speech recognition, face recognition, and reinforcement learning.
Now, while the whole process might seem complicated (in his blogpost, he mentions Python, PHP, Objective C and a host of other geeky terms), let me try and break it down for you.
What Mark did can - in layman terms - be explained in 4 simple steps. Though it needs to be kept in mind that the guy owns Facebook and has access to a lot of softwares, systems and other stuff you and I cannot even afford/dream of.
Step 1: He bought and connected a whole bunch of appliances to each other. He bought lights, speaker systems, cameras and whatnot and connected them all to his phone and computer.
Step 2: He then built a command execution programme which when given a command will control one of these appliances using API (the language that the sensor understands). For instance, 'light on' and 'light off' are commands that are verbally sent and executed because these lights are controlled by commands other than a switch.
Step 3: He added voice recognition to the system. So when he gives a voice command, it gets executed by the Jarvis server which is then turned into a command which can be fulfilled by one of these appliances or sensors.
Like when he says 'turn on TV', voice recognition turns into a command called 'turn on the TV' and the Jarvis sensor goes on to switch on the TV.
Step 4: Lastly, he used his AI technology for face recognition. So that he is able to recognise when someone is at the gate. Face recognition says XYZ person is at the gate and automatically opens the gate.
This AI employs the same face recognition software that Facebook uses to ask you if you want to tag specific people in photos. Remember how FB doesn't just notice the face but recognises it as well?
Zuckerberg did this in over a 100 hours in 2016. A lot of people can do this, but they don't have the resources or the access to some of the softwares and techniques that he has at his disposal. But that being said, sky is the limit. So there's no reason why you shouldn't try!
You can read Zuckerberg's original blogpost here.
This article was written with a whole lot of help and patience from our in-house tech genius, Rahul Batra.