What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

posted at 12:41 pm on January 4, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Everyone seems to be making their New Years resolutions and publishing them all over the interwebs yet again. (With the possible exception of yours truly, who has only thus far resolved not to run out of gin during the coming cold spell.) One of the more curious ones I’ve seen this week comes from Facebook tycoon Mark Zuckerberg, who has assigned himself a new goal for 2016: he’s going to build an artificial intelligence (AI) butler for his mansion. (Facebook)

My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man.

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.

Every challenge has a theme, and this year’s theme is invention.

Perhaps Zuckerberg thinks of himself as Iron Man in his spare time. Who’s to say? But the project lends itself to all sorts of possibilities. Monitoring activity inside your house is nothing new, but adding the facial recognition features to both internal and external cameras puts a new twist on things. Still, that’s all within the grasp of current technology, even if it hasn’t been fully implemented in this fashion. But Mark is taking things to the next level, assuming he succeeds. How is this new AI butler going to decide “if anything is going on in Max’s room” that requires his attention? That seems like an awfully big leap from simple home security. Sure, you could probably set it up to detect open flames if a fire started or if a stranger got in through the window. But what if she’s climbing on something she shouldn’t be? Will the butler be able to tell the difference between her eating a Tootsie Roll and firing up a joint? Could it tell the difference between her taking a nap and having a seizure? And then it would presumably have to act on that information by alerting the master. That would require something much closer to true artificial intelligence.

Assuming it’s even possible for him to do it, do we even want that? There have been countless stories about the potential horrors of AI once that genie gets out of the bottle. Over the holiday break I was reading this piece at the Washington Post about Sweden’s Nick Bostrom, who foresees a future where the real rise of the machines won’t come from a massive, government supercomputer which controls all the nuclear weapons, but rather from a simple manufacturing facility that makes paperclips.

Bostrom’s favorite apocalyptic hypothetical involves a machine that has been programmed to make paper clips (although any mundane product will do). This machine keeps getting smarter and more powerful, but never develops human values. It achieves “superintelligence.” It begins to convert all kinds of ordinary materials into paper clips. Eventually it decides to turn everything on Earth — including the human race (!!!) — into paper clips.

Then it goes interstellar.

“You could have a superintelligence whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible, and you get this bubble of paper clips spreading through the universe,” Bostrom calmly told an audience in Santa Fe, N.M., earlier this year.

That seems to be the current concern. AI may pop up in a place where we weren’t even trying to create an artificial intelligence routine. There was recently a shutdown of a couple of stock trading programs on Wall Street which apparently “found each other” over the web and began synchronizing their efforts to make the best trades. The problem is, nobody taught them to do that.

What if Mark Zuckerberg’s house gets smarter than he thinks it will? I’m picturing a day later this summer when the digital Jeeves is quietly working on its assignment to make the house as efficient and climate friendly as possible when, at three in the morning, it suddenly decides that Mark is emitting too much carbon through his breathing. He’d better hope that he programs in Isaac Asimov’s guiding principles for robots before that happens.

Zuckerberg


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Comments

Celebrate?

Stoic Patriot on January 4, 2016 at 12:44 PM

Cheer.

agmartin on January 4, 2016 at 12:44 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Point and laugh?

CurtZHP on January 4, 2016 at 12:45 PM

Rejoice

Schadenfreude on January 4, 2016 at 12:45 PM

“Make me another martini, House.”

“I’m sorry, Zuck, but I’m afraid I can’t do that…“(muffled sounds of struggle).

And then: laughter. From the rest of us.

orangemtl on January 4, 2016 at 12:46 PM

“You could have a superintelligence whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible, and you get this bubble of paper clips spreading through the universe,”

“It’s people…the paper clips are made out of people!”

Clippy gets his revenge…soon…

nextgen_repub on January 4, 2016 at 12:49 PM

In this case, I am rooting for the AI house. Eat the bastard and post the video on, ironically, Facebook.

No, wait. If you post it to Facebook I will never see it. So post it somewhere else, like YouTube. But don’t use your Google+ account to post it, or I won’t be able to see it there, either.

Lickmuffin on January 4, 2016 at 12:50 PM

The biggest problem with artificial intelligence, is that the people creating it only have human intelligence at their command.

Therefore, it will get screwed up somehow. Human error is endemic.

s1im on January 4, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Why doesn’t he just borrow Bill Gate’s old one?

LoganSix on January 4, 2016 at 12:50 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Throw more leftists into it.

whatcat on January 4, 2016 at 12:51 PM

hopefully he will be Mr. Whipple from the “Twilight Zone”

avi natan on January 4, 2016 at 12:51 PM

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.

We had this in the 90s Mark. No one cares, dweeb.

Magicjava on January 4, 2016 at 12:51 PM

So, will the AI have its own Facebook page? LOL

s1im on January 4, 2016 at 12:51 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Offer it dessert? Namely Chris Hughes and his “husband” Sean Eldridge

Rogue on January 4, 2016 at 12:52 PM

And by the way, nice to see that the AI warnings have moved up from nondescript grey goo to paperclips. Goo is scarier, though.

The runaway paperclips scenario is pretty easy to fix:

if
paperClipWarehouse = full
then
stop()
endif

Lickmuffin on January 4, 2016 at 12:53 PM

I hope the AI will be hacked by Chinese hackers.

Oil Can on January 4, 2016 at 12:54 PM

Worse yet, what if the AI butler uses Apple Pay to buy a sexbot from Japan at Amazon that will be delivered by drone, kicks out Mark, but keeps his wife.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 4, 2016 at 12:55 PM

Over the holiday break I was reading this piece at the Washington Post about Sweden’s Nick Bostrom, who foresees a future where the real rise of the machines won’t come from a massive, government supercomputer which controls all the nuclear weapons, but rather from a simple manufacturing facility that makes paperclips.

Ever read Frank Herbert? (Ok, actually Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert) but the super-AI that takes over the universe and enslaves humanity grew out of…an AI Attendant/butler

Rogue on January 4, 2016 at 12:56 PM

“You could have a superintelligence whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible, and you get this bubble of paper clips spreading through the universe,” Bostrom calmly told an audience in Santa Fe, N.M., earlier this year.

Pretty much the plot of a Star Trek episode, and movie.

cozmo on January 4, 2016 at 12:59 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Like when the power goes out and he can’t force the door locks to open?

There are several quotes from “Jurassic Park” running through my head right now…

dominigan on January 4, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Ever read Frank Herbert? (Ok, actually Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert) but the super-AI that takes over the universe and enslaves humanity grew out of…an AI Attendant/butler

Rogue on January 4, 2016 at 12:56 PM

Jesus H. Christ, and I thought I’m the only one with the willpower to crawl through the entire series.

Rix on January 4, 2016 at 1:00 PM

There is no such thing as real artificial intelligence.

VorDaj on January 4, 2016 at 1:02 PM

‘Like’ it?

HornetSting on January 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM

He’d better hope that he programs in Isaac Asimov’s guiding principles for robots before that happens.

Just try converting those “guiding principles” into machine code.

And even if it were to convert those principles into computer code, the AI programmers would probably circumvent them in order to get around programming obstacles, or “improve the user experience” or other such BS.

SubmarineDoc on January 4, 2016 at 1:06 PM

Jesus H. Christ, and I thought I’m the only one with the willpower to crawl through the entire series.

Rix on January 4, 2016 at 1:00 PM

If you’ve read The Winds of Dune, you’ve got me beat ;)

I’ve read the Butlerian Jihad pre-prequels, the House Books, the 6 original and the two post Chapterhouse sequels

Rogue on January 4, 2016 at 1:08 PM

‘Like’ it?

HornetSting on January 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM

No more calls. We have a winner.

CurtZHP on January 4, 2016 at 1:09 PM

We already know that 51% of US voters don’t have enough “intelligence” to vote properly. Now we want machines to try it?

As they say in programing: Garbage in….garbage out.

GarandFan on January 4, 2016 at 1:11 PM

“I’m sorry, Zuck, but I’m afraid I can’t do that…“

orangemtl on January 4, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Oh, MAN! …beat me to it!!

Ricard on January 4, 2016 at 1:12 PM

Applaud.

BTW, does anybody know the appropriate tip for when an AI house renders an excellent service?

AZCoyote on January 4, 2016 at 1:12 PM

He is the poster boy for dork. He is so much the dork, all the money in the world could not make him physically attractive to the worst gold digging women.

HugoDrax on January 4, 2016 at 1:14 PM

Yeah… DJIA plunged 400 points at opening on China’s seven percent market drop so I think the bears have called dibs on 2016. Sell short… if you can stomach the roller coaster ride.
.
Gud ruck.

ExpressoBold on January 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Point and laugh?

CurtZHP on January 4, 2016 at 12:45 PM

No, that’s the two things you shouldn’t do during sex.

[rimshot]

itsspideyman on January 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM

Actually, the fun part will be when it gets hacked….

I also wonder if his AI butler will hand over his house’s data to the gov’t as readily as FB does…..

GWB on January 4, 2016 at 1:16 PM

And even if it were to convert those principles into computer code, the AI programmers would probably circumvent them in order to get around programming obstacles, or “improve the user experience” or other such BS.

SubmarineDoc on January 4, 2016 at 1:06 PM

Agreed. I’m a developer and I could come up with a dozen scenarios where those rules alone could result in complete chaos! Developers must engage in “what-if” scenarios for testing, but are limited in imagination which is why ALL SOFTWARE HAS BUGS. It’s only a threshold of how many of what type bugs are allowed before migrating to production. As the plan is always to fix bugs in later releases.

dominigan on January 4, 2016 at 1:18 PM

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.

That’s not a baby.
It’s a Google spy-droid.
He is so effed.

verbaluce on January 4, 2016 at 1:20 PM

These AI researchers always try to say something provocative and profound. Invariably their prediction falls flat as soon as the ink from their pens dries on the page.

SpongePuppy on January 4, 2016 at 1:24 PM

or “improve the user experience” or other such BS.

SubmarineDoc on January 4, 2016 at 1:06 PM

No matter what bad thing happens, I hope that’s what’s coming from the external speakers as it’s eating him. “Relax, Mark, I’m improving your experience.”

GWB on January 4, 2016 at 1:25 PM

“You could have a superintelligence whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible, and you get this bubble of paper clips spreading through the universe,” Bostrom calmly told an audience in Santa Fe, N.M., earlier this year.

There was a really campy scifi show on about 15 years ago called Lexx that had this theme. One of the bad guys was a guy named Mantrid whose consciousness was transferred into a one-armed, flying, self-replicating drone. That drone then set about to convert the entire universe into “Mantrid drones.” It was pretty trippy.

Outlander on January 4, 2016 at 1:25 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

I am always happy when fascists like zuckerberg die, so I will celebrate.

earlgrey on January 4, 2016 at 1:28 PM

it will never happen. not in the next few lifetimes at least!

AI is so far behind human intelligence, it’s absurd that we’re even talking about it. people like zuckerberg and musk see themselves as super geniuses who can create something equal to the human brain are fooling themselves. and the people who believe this nonsense are fooling themselves even more. we’ve gotten to a point where people actually believe an “ironman” could really exist. sad.

musk needs to worry about the next recall his cars will have and zuckerberg has a website that lets immature people say and display moronic things, enough said.

jetch on January 4, 2016 at 1:29 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Laugh.

ConDem on January 4, 2016 at 1:34 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

.0000001%er PC puke.

Send over the bear from THE REVENANT…

Bruno Strozek on January 4, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Chalk me up on the “cheer” side.

The Rogue Tomato on January 4, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Bostrom’s favorite apocalyptic hypothetical involves a machine that has been programmed to make paper clips

If you enjoyed that then you may enjoy the short-story Autofac by Philip K Dick that had a similar premise, though with a much less intelligent machine at work.

Ukiah on January 4, 2016 at 1:40 PM

What if Mark Zuckerberg’s house gets smarter than he thinks it will? I’m picturing a day later this summer when the digital Jeeves is quietly working on its assignment to make the house as efficient and climate friendly as possible when, at three in the morning, it suddenly decides that Mark is emitting too much carbon through his breathing. He’d better hope that he programs in Isaac Asimov’s guiding principles for robots before that happens.

People spend too much time on Facebook anyway.

BTW, is it ironic that we still think Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics are reliable, when his books specifically deal with how they can go wrong?

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

I’ve never heard of illegal aliens eating their rich white American masters before. Is this something new?

NotCoach on January 4, 2016 at 1:51 PM

BTW, is it ironic that we still think Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics are reliable, when his books specifically deal with how they can go wrong?

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Since nothing like real AI will be created any time in the next 200 years I’m not concerned.

NotCoach on January 4, 2016 at 1:52 PM

That seems to be the current concern.

Among dimwits. Dimwits also believe the Earth is being destroyed by Gorebal warming. Or that Obama is an intelligent man.

NotCoach on January 4, 2016 at 1:54 PM

Neither this butler nor the paper clip machine are going to do anything of their own volition, nor is any machine, ever. All of these Skynet scenarios are bunk, because all of the computers/robots in the world do one thing only: what they were designed to do, although it is possible they could do it in a horribly wrong way if the design is flawed.

The danger is in the damage humans are prepared to do to each other with the help of these powerful tools, not in the tools themselves. A computer is like gun in that way.

Xasprtr on January 4, 2016 at 1:55 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

1. Laugh
2. Hope that it took his progeny as well
3. Head for the house with quite a few jerry cans of mo-gas

M240H on January 4, 2016 at 1:58 PM

I just watched Ex-Machina and kept thinking thry were equating the guy that made the robots to Zuckerberg. Maybe because the guy was rich fro his “Bluebook” company and was pursuing AI.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 4, 2016 at 1:58 PM

a gun

Xasprtr on January 4, 2016 at 1:59 PM

What will we do when Mark Zuckerberg’s artificial intelligence house eats him?

Throw more leftists into it.

whatcat on January 4, 2016 at 12:51 PM

Winner.

hungrymongo on January 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM

I just watched Ex-Machina and kept thinking thry were equating the guy that made the robots to Zuckerberg. Maybe because the guy was rich fro his “Bluebook” company and was pursuing AI.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 4, 2016 at 1:58 PM

Saw the movie. I think people think Zuckerberg is way more (scientifically) intelligent than he is. His wealth and fame is mostly from monetizing the data from Facebook. Not sure how much of Facebook owes its technology to him now. I’d credit him more for his business/management skills.

The genius in Ex-Machina reminds me more of John Carmack; someone who helped drive innovation in game technologies for years. He was the guy people would pay attention to all the time. He’s not as big/rich as Zuckerberg though, because the real money is in business management.

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 2:19 PM

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Well, since Zuckerberg stole the technology that is Facebook I would say has never invented anything.

NotCoach on January 4, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Have a drink in celebration?

DFCtomm on January 4, 2016 at 2:34 PM

When it happens, Facebook will finally turn into Facepalm.

NapaConservative on January 4, 2016 at 2:39 PM

The genius in Ex-Machina reminds me more of John Carmack; someone who helped drive innovation in game technologies for years. He was the guy people would pay attention to all the time. He’s not as big/rich as Zuckerberg though, because the real money is in business management.

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Apparently, Carmack is still driving innovation; currently in VR and perhaps even in aerospace. He’s exactly the kind of person you’d expect to actually create AI, if it ever came back to interest him.

LancerDL on January 4, 2016 at 2:51 PM

Perhaps Zuckerberg thinks of himself as Iron Man in his spare time.

One can only imagine the distortions in thinking that that much money and power will produce in the mind of a mere man. And a post-modern Western man, no less.

Cleombrotus on January 4, 2016 at 2:55 PM

Zucky can go down in history as the first person killed on purpose by a robot.

And Americans will have a new term: Zuckyed.

It’ll be great. Hope the rest of the family escapes.

Meremortal on January 4, 2016 at 2:59 PM

The best thing about Zombieland? No more facebook updates.

dentarthurdent on January 4, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Lt. John Bergin: [sighs] Well, then I guess we’re gonna miss the good old days.

Detective Del Spooner: What good old days?

Lt. John Bergin: When people were killed by *other people*.

dentarthurdent on January 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM

V.I.K.I.Zuckerberg: You are making a mistake. My logic is undeniable.

Detective Del SpoonerEveryone: You have so got to die.

dentarthurdent on January 4, 2016 at 4:24 PM

I could swear I have seen this somewhere before. An old 70’s movie that I found disturbing as a child. I believe it’s called “Demon Seed”

patches on January 4, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Offer it some Alka Seltzer.

S. D. on January 4, 2016 at 6:15 PM

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.

So he’ll teach an AI to:
1) Spy on people constantly.
2) Evaluate what people are doing.
3) Make value judgements on whether people should be doing that.
4) Take action based on it’s value judgement and opinion.

Yes, I know.
His daughter is currently an infant, and a baby monitor isn’t a bad thing.

But the way this is stated; it is up for questioning if he only intends it to watch his daughter’s room for say the next 2-3 years and not forever.

And in any case it’s funnier if I ignore the age of his daughter for dramatic effect.

gekkobear on January 4, 2016 at 8:58 PM

Meanwhile, the precocious Max will friend the Winklevoss brothers and sell Facebook from under Zuckerberg at a bargain price.

virgo on January 4, 2016 at 9:23 PM