Mark Zuckerberg has built a new artificial intelligence assistant to automate his home. It speaks with Sonos, Spotify, a Samsung TV, a Crestron smart home and lighting system, a Nest cam and more, to create the closest we’ve come to a combined smarthome-smartmobile-smartoffice.

Suitably impressed with themselves, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have shown some of the features they’ve created, including automated time sequencing between the couple as they leave the office, allowing their home to ‘warm up,’ before they arrive, and the syncing of data across their schedules and shopping lists.

Hardly inspiring, considering the average consumer could accomplish the same results using Echo or another AI assistant, combined with IFTTT, or Zapier technologies. In fact, most of what was showcased by the Zuckerberg clan was indicative of one thing – that to build a solid at-home AI ‘stack,’ you need to start from the ground up as they did.

Most people ‘tack on’ artificial intelligence to their lives – buying a device or AI assistant to enhance their lives – but this is limiting to AI’s capabilities. Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg literally built their AI processes from nothing, using Facebook infrastructure and programmers, and their own home to create something that fills all the gaps, allowing their own biases and wildest dreams to come into play. Priscilla herself spoke of requesting from programmers that certain AI enhancements adjust based on whether her husband and herself do the same thing. Mark mentioned that he himself personally programmed a part of the system to only allow only him to set the heating levels for the house.

The only possibly unique component is that the AI in the Zuckerberg’s home learns their taste in music – not based on what’s in their playlists, but by what they listen to at home. This may not seem like much, but it’s exciting in that rather than being an inclusive program, it excludes existing processes at the expense of machine learning. In other words, the AI assistant will ignore the Zuckerberg’s bias for downloads, compared to what they listen to. There are thousands of viable applications for this, including an AI assistant being able to differentiate between what someone wants, and how someone acts – enabling users to learn about themselves through algorithm.

While the Zuckerberg’s new AI assistant may be exciting, if not revolutionary, it’s certainly a step in the right direction, as we all learn where the limitations of AI may be.

 

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