Video: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

Thinking of making a new year’s resolution for 2017? If so, we suggest looking to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for inspiration. This year his goal was to learn about the state of artificial intelligence (AI) by building “a simple AI” to run his home, and according to a note posted earlier this week he saw great success.

Called Jarvis (yes, that’s an homage to Tony Stark’s AI in the “Iron Man” movies) and voiced by Morgan Freeman, the AI can control many different elements of Zuckerberg’s home, including temperature, lights, appliances, music and security. Commands can be sent verbally, by phone or by computer, and Jarvis can even learn new words and concepts.

Those features make Jarvis sound similar to Google Home and Amazon Echo, but as the video above shows, it has some unique features. There’s a cannon that can instantly deploy Zuckerberg’s famous gray T-shirts, and cameras at the front door can recognize who’s visiting and let them in. Zuckerberg also said Jarvis can handle some open-ended requests — “[n]o commercial products I know of do this today, and this seems like a big opportunity,” he commented.

Of course, not everyone is impressed with Zuckerberg’s creation. As Gizmodo points out, even after a year of tweaks Jarvis is “still being dogged by many of the same problems as the AI that’s out there today.”

A key issue is that while there are many different smart home products on the market today, a lack of common standards means it’s often not easy to make them to “talk” to each other. Zuckerberg found that before he could start building Jarvis he had to spend time writing code to get his devices to connect. That’s less of a problem with smart home systems like Google Home and Amazon Echo, but does remain a challenge for those working with AI.

On a lighter note, Jarvis also seems to have presented some problems for Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg’s wife:

Video: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

For Zuckerberg, the philosophical upshot is that “[i]n a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine.” While AI is closer than people might expect to being able to do powerful things like drive cars and cure diseases, “we’re still figuring out what real intelligence is.”

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