Jarvis is here, in the real world, in the house of one Mark Zuckerberg!
For the uninitiated, JARVIS or Just A Rather Very Intelligent System is a voice activated kickass virtual assistant designed by Tony Stark aka Iron Man from the Marvel universe (Yes! A comic book, now a Hollywood money spinner is the inspiration, the muse).
In the movies, it seamlessly ran Tony Stark’s household, helped him create his tin suits. Subsequently in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it virtually saved mankind from another one of Stark’s invention, Ultron. Pretty cool for an assistant without a physical form.
Jarvis would have remained just a movie character but when Mark Zuckerberg decided to recreate it as a part of his 2016 resolution, it became huge. Also while we are talking of challenges, Mark’s new year resolutions are not just fantastic but varied too- running 365 miles in a year, reading two books every week, learning to speak Mandarin. That is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m in awe.
Cut to the news article that sent the family into a tizzy- another Zuckerberg resolution complete; Jarvis is alive!
We needed to know more .
It was Siri to the rescue!
Simultaneously across the room, Cortana too was summoned. The jury is still out on who is a better assistant, Siri or Cortana. The lanky one in the family adores the latter; apparently she is very witty and has all the answers.
Hmm… maybe artificial intelligence is already invading our lives while we wait for the drum rolls and dazzling firework announcement.
Anyway coming back to the AI butler, it is also a voice based system that recognises the family members and takes care of all their dishwashing, curtain closing and other daily chores and needs. Most importantly, Mark’s Jarvis comes with a voice voiced by Morgan Freeman himself.
While I was still trying to learn more about all the nifty things it could do, I discovered Amazon’s neat voice recognition AI system is already on sale.
From the photographs, it looks like an ordinary small speaker called Echo, powered by Alexa (Amazon’s cloud based virtual assistant). It needs the command, “Wake Alexa” and there after it is for you to command. It operates household devices, makes shopping lists, a to do list, select music and play, even tell jokes.
Again, no robot, only magic words to get things done.
Wow! Now I never have to get out of bed ever. Maybe just to eat food and earn enough to buy this and other smart home gadgets that can be controlled by the almighty AI butlers.
The race for the title of the greatest virtual assistant is on and I am ready.
Hold on! What if all these smart gadgets make us love them more, maybe more than the living beings we surround ourselves with. Let’s face it, they can tell jokes too.
Alright, reframing the question. Will AI replace human connections in the future?
It may if you believe the movie ‘Her’. No spoilers but it left me disturbed and sad. Quite like another news item that caught my eye. This is happening in the present.
The intrepid Japanese have created a holographic companion, a girl who looks straight out of a Manga called Azuma Hikari. She is quite like a Star Wars Princess Leia kind of hologram encased in a small 50 cm glass tube. She speaks as well as sends loving texts on the phone, like a proper person (if you can overlook the fact that the person is a holograph enclosed in a small tube). It is aimed at the lonely souls who miss human relationship but do not have the time to invest in one.
We do live in interesting times.
We lived through the Space odyssey that spoke of 2001 and the Back to the Future’s, 2015. I suppose the future is already here.
Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, Knight Rider’s smart talking crime fighting car Kit, James Bond’s crimefighting/ lifesaving gadgets, Star Trek’s scanners and ‘Beam me Scotty’ teleportation, are a reality or will be.
I have heard so much about the Oculus Rift and can’t wait to experience the VR world. Counting it to be as immersive as the movie Matrix leads me to understand. I’ll settle for the same immersive experience of reading an amazing book.
As my fellow blogger Manjris says, “The world is ours, how much we embrace depends on how far we stretch our arms.”
2017 will be my year of discovery and wonder.
Finally to wind up this rather rambling post, sharing some moments that I remember leaving me wonderstruck. None of them are tech related but they were clicked by an amazing gizmo called the iPhone .
Here’s to blogging my wonder junkie moments.