Is Zuckerberg’s home a testing ground for a new Facebook product?
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg spent 100 hours in 2016 building a personal robot butler — called Jarvis — to control his home Iron Man-style. Apparently it works pretty well!
On Monday, Zuckerberg posted his thoughts on the building process, including some details on what went well (it didn’t take him as long as he expected) and what didn’t (connecting appliances that all have different code structures is hard).
The house works like this: Zuckerberg communicates with Jarvis through text using a Facebook Messenger bot he built, or via voice commands using a voice recognition app he built and programmed onto multiple iPhones stationed around his house (think Amazon’s Echo).
From there he can tell Jarvis to change the music, control the lights or make him some toast.
And while Zuckerberg says voice commands are useful, he thinks that communicating via text is more important. Controlling everything via a smartphone you can carry with you is a must, he wrote.
“In order to be useful I wanted to be able to communicate with [Jarvis] from anywhere I happened to be,” Zuckerberg wrote. “That meant the communication had to happen through my phone, not a device placed in my home.”
So what’s next for Jarvis? Zuckerberg says he’ll keep teaching it new tricks and connect it to more appliances in his home. But it also sounds like Jarvis might be the start of a new Facebook project.
“Over time it would be interesting to find ways to make this available to the world,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I considered open sourcing my code, but it’s currently too tightly tied to my own home, appliances and network configuration. If I ever build a layer that abstracts more home automation functionality, I may release that. Or, of course, that could be a great foundation to build a new product.”
Zuckerberg publicly announces a new challenge for himself each January; building Jarvis was his 2016 challenge (along with running 365 total miles, which he already completed). Zuckerberg’s 2017 challenge is coming out “in a few weeks.”