Let's face it: at some point in your life, you've probably wished you had a robot who would do your bidding. I definitely have. Growing up with The Jetsons, Star Wars, and (later on) Iron Man, the idea of having my own personal robot was always the ultimate science fiction fantasy. "More Dr. Pepper please, Jeeves," I could envision myself commanding from my recliner as I watched Full House.
For his 2016 personal challenge, Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make that dream a reality. For his household, at least. The billionaire founder of the world's most beloved social network has big plans to code his own home AI system that will respond to and learn from advanced voice commands.
This latest personal challenge is a bit of a deviation from previous years, during which Zuck has learned Mandarin, butchered his own meat in order to feel more connected to his food, written a thank-you note a day, and played Oprah to a billion of his BFFs as he shared his bi-monthly book recommendations on Facebook. One year he simply challenged himself to wear a tie to work every day. There's a slight chance he was just phoning it in that year.
Building his own home AI system is a worthy challenge for Zuckerberg, who has always gone out of his way to stay true to his roots as a programmer. He will likely look to existing technology for inspiration as he begins writing code; groundbreaking companies like Aldebaran are already marketing robots that can sense human emotions and respond in kind by cueing up favorite music or games, and Zuck already uses Amazon Echo to control his music at home. His AI project will take these functions to the next level by building in the capacity for more advanced home surveillance (especially in baby Max's room) and learning to recognize and respond to visitors. Of course, above all, he'll be dialed into his engineering pals at Facebook, who are working on Facebook M, the company's answer to Siri and Cortana.
So yeah, typical billionaire stuff. No big deal.