Mark Zuckerberg will build his own AI butler in 2016

Mark Zuckerberg has set himself a New Year's resolution to create his own artificially intelligent assistant to help him both at home and at work.

Likening the venture to J.A.R.V.I.S., the fictional assistant in Marvel's Iron Man franchise, Zuckerberg wants to create a 'simple' AI that is capable of tasks such as controlling temperature and lighting in the home, recognising friends when they visit, and checking on his child when he's not in the room.

As for work, Zuckerberg said he would like it to help visualise data in a virtual reality environment, and thus help him to build and improve various services more easily.

"Every challenge has a theme, and this year's theme is invention," he wrote in a post on his Facebook profile. "At Facebook I spend a lot of time working with engineers to build new things. Some of the most rewarding work involves getting deep into the details of technical projects."

Last year, Facebook launched a virtual assistant for Messenger, 'M', designed to be an alternative to Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. This feature would, however, be partly powered by humans as it learns by answering user questions over time.

The company's artificial intelligence research division, dubbed FAIR, has also built a tool that is able to recognise objects within photos, distinguishing between different objects 30 times faster than it had been able to in previous stages of development.

Zuckerberg added: "It's a different kind of rewarding to build things yourself, so this year my personal challenge is to do that. This should be a fun intellectual challenge to code this for myself. I'm looking forward to sharing what I learn over the course of the year."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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