Mark Zuckerberg plans to create AI dream in 2016 with robot butler

4 Jan 2016

A Mr Handy robot butler from the video game Fallout 4. Image via Fallout Wiki

Laying out his plans for 2016, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that he plans to use AI to create the one thing people have been calling for for decades – a robot butler capable of servicing his every need.

Even if someone is not particularly familiar with the actual functionality and uses of AI, almost everyone would be familiar with the concept of a robot butler that would be capable of serving a human in their home, given that it’s been a classic vision of the future in science fiction.

Now, Zuckerberg has laid out his plans for the sci-fi-turned-reality project, which he says is all part of his own plan for personal development.

However, the technology behind an AI that can recognise the needs of a human and respond to them is not a brand new development, but something that has been worked on for some time, and Zuckerberg plans to utilise this.

Plays into VR development

“I’ll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home – music, lights, temperature and so on,” he says.

“I’ll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell. I’ll teach it to let me know if anything is going on in Max’s [Zuckerberg’s daughter] room that I need to check on when I’m not with her.”

Zuckerberg also goes on to say that the technology developed for the robot was inspired by the J.A.R.V.I.S. character in the Iron Man film series, and will play into developing the work underway at the Facebook-owned Oculus VR company.

This marks yet another attempt by Facebook to expand its AI offerings, having only last month offered the technology behind its server used to crunch AI algorithms, Big Sur, for free online for others to develop.

“This should be a fun intellectual challenge to code this for myself,” Zuckerberg said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic