Mark Zuckerberg’s New Project Is to Build Jarvis, Iron Man’s Robot Butler

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Depending on your perspective, Mark Zuckerberg is either one of the principal heroes or villains of the oversharing age. His superpower involves consolidating information about the world’s humans into Facebook Inc. and creating new incentives for users to generate more data. It seems Zuck would like you to think of him as a hero: He recently tried to upgrade his personal narrative from be-hoodied boy wonder to billionaire philanthropist, and now he’s announced he’s building his own version of Iron Man’s faithful virtual assistant, Jarvis.


For each of the past several years, Zuckerberg has taken on an annual challenge. Last year’s was to read a book every other week, and he’s previously taken on learning Mandarin and only eating animals he killed himself. In 2016, he’s announced he wants to automate parts of his home and work by building a simple AI like the one used by Marvel’s Tony Stark — a hugely popular fictional billionaire who stands for the idea that the superrich may be dicks, but they’re cool dicks who want to save humanity (or at least their own vision of it).

Huh. Can’t imagine why a character like that would resonate with Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s his vision for his own personal machine intelligence:

I’m going to start by exploring what technology is already out there. Then I’ll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home – music, lights, temperature and so on. 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 room that I need to check on when I’m not with her. On the work side, it’ll help me visualize data in VR to help me build better services and lead my organizations more effectively.

And whenever there’s a crisis, it will also assemble the pieces of Iron Zuck’s super-suit and draw them directly to him so he can spring into action. (This part only happens in his imagination).