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Business

Zuckerberg: 'Shooting t-shirts from a cannon'

Mark Zuckerberg has introduced the world to "Jarvis," an artificial intelligence butler he's created for his home. The Facebook chief said Jarvis showed both the opportunities and current limitations of AI gadgets.

Presenting his virtual butler, Jarvis, Mark Zuckerberg said his attempt to create a useful AI system could be a step toward a new product.

He created Jarvis in 100 hours of his spare time, customizing the butler for his house. The gadget can play music, turn on the lights, recognize visitors and decide whether to open the front door - it can even shoot t-shirts from a cannon in the closet.

Zuckerberg said developing Jarvis meant a personal challenge he'd set for himself this year as digital home assistants by Google and Amazon competed for holiday sales and were expected to outsell popular emerging gadgets such as virtual reality headsets and drones.

Many obstacles in place

Zuckerberg wrote that creating Jarvis proved humanity was "both closer and farther off" from an AI breakthrough than imagined by many.

He said computers were getting very good at pick-out patterns such as face recognition, but it was difficult to teach them new things.

"Everything I did - natural language, face recognition, speech recognition and so on - are all variants of the same fundamental pattern recognition techniques," Zuckerberg noted. "But even if I spent 1,000 more hours, I probably wouldn't be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own."

Zuckerberg pointed to a dearth of internet-enabled devices, lack of common standards for connected devices to communicate and challenges related to speech recognition and machine learning.

hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)

 

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