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    Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Build Himself A Robot Butler In 2016

    So the robot revolution will presumably begin in 2017.

    Mark Zuckerberg is planning to build himself a robot servant in 2016.

    Money Sharma / AFP/Getty Images

    The Facebook founder said in a status update that he had set himself the goal as a challenge for the new year.

    Facebook: zuck

    Previous challenges have included learning Mandarin and reading two books every month.

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / YouTube / Via

    His plan is to build a "simple" artificial intelligence (AI) which would help run his house and his work – "kind of like Jarvis out of Iron Man".

    In the films, J.A.R.V.I.S. is an intelligent computer with a posh British voice which controls Tony Stark's house and equipment.

    Marvel Cinematic Universe / Giphy / Via

    A lot of the technology Zuckerberg needs to make his robot butler already exists. For instance, voice recognition software is already widely available.

    He said: "I'll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home – music, lights, temperature and so on."

    So is software for recognising faces – and in fact Facebook has been leading the way on that front.

    Facebook / DeepFace

    It claims that it has software which can correctly identify human faces 97.25% of the time – humans can only manage slightly better, at 97.53%. So when Zuckerberg says "I'll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell," he knows he can do that with existing technology.

    And in 2014 Facebook bought the virtual reality company Oculus Rift, so making a VR system for visualising data shouldn't be beyond him either.

    Various people, including the US military research company DARPA, are looking into the best ways to use Oculus for exactly this purpose.

    Of course, making an actual "strong" AI – one of human-level intelligence – might be a bit more difficult.

    And also might destroy humanity.

    Of course, Facebook is working on strong AI anyway.

    Tom Chivers is a science writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

    Contact Tom Chivers at

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