2016
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Samsung will likely bring Chromecast-like functionality to its TVs
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Samsung's Smart View app has let users pipe movies and photos on their device to a nearby TV for years, but the latest version's App Store page has screenshots suggesting it's expanding into the streaming market. Similar to Chromecast and Roku, this could funnel YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video straight to a screen, suggesting that users will be able to use the feature with its next generation of smart televisions and control it with their smartphones.

In the latest version's screenshots, the app's tabs also include TV Plus, Samsung's "smart electronic program guide" content aggregator that's been bundled with some of its newer devices this year. Notably absent is Netflix, suggesting that Samsung may have joined Apple in failing to secure the content titan under its app umbrella.
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Editing Tweets Is a Bad Idea
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Today, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took questions from Twitter users about what they want the company to do better in 2017. Dorsey seemed receptive to one idea that Twitter’s power users have been begging for: the ability to edit tweets. This is an awful idea.
@howardlindzon not sure why you're quoting this tweet but yes, a form of edit is def needed. But for everyone, not just those w badges
— jack (@jack) December 29, 2016
With the rise of fake news, trust in things posted online is at an all-time low. So why would Twitter add a feature that might make a user second guess what they’re reading? If a your tweet has a typo or an error, there’s a super easy way to fix it: just delete it and repost the tweet. If you were able to edit a tweet even minutes after sending it, you could easily trick a lot of people. More specifically, tweets with breaking news can be retweeted hundreds of times in just a matter of minutes, so if someone was to change a tweet after it has been retweeted 300 times, things could get messy.
Maybe Twitter could solve this by adding an icon to indicate that the a tweet has been edited, but then how would you know to what degree it was edited? Twitter could add a revision history in order to combat this, but 140 character tweets with a revision history attached seems excessive. And what if a crucial piece of information is subtly changed so that it modifies the entire meaning of the tweet? And what if you retweeted some sentiment that you agreed with, only to find that the tweet you just endorsed has been changed to mean something entirely different? I could go on.
Editing tweets would be an easy way for sloppy reporters to spread misinformation and sew confusion or for trolls to spread falsehoods. Here’s a hypothetical scenario: a reporter tweets about a gunman at the intersection of Green Street and Third Avenue. The tweet is retweeted and shared hundreds of times in just a few minutes. But then, the reporter realizes he misheard the police scanner and realizes there was no gunman at all. So he edits the tweet, leaving little trace of the original error—unless Twitter imposes that clunky revision history feature that users would probably ignore.
In theory, editing tweets sounds nice, especially for quickly correcting typos, but there is no conceivable way to build a tweet editing feature that wouldn’t somehow lead to misinformation or even be abused. Part of the brilliance that Twitter useful is knowing that the tweet you’re seeing can’t been modified. Changing that principle would make Twitter even more confusing and less reliable.
If this hasn’t convinced you that editing tweets is a terrible idea, try out this fun thought experiment: what kind of shit would Donald Trump pull if he was able to edit tweets?
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Facebook names its favorite in-house hackathon projects
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Facebook is ending 2016 by naming its favorite projects and products that came out of all the hackathons its offices worldwide hosted this year. One is a richer, more robust Safety Check: a team tweaked the feature (which was itself the product of a hackathon) to allow people to embed more context, pictures and calls to actions within notifications. Another team created sort of an extension for it that gave people a way to offer and look for resources such as food and water in emergency situations.


Facebook names its favorite in-house hackathon projects
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A hackathoA hackathon in Seattle gave rise to instant verification for Android, which launched earlier this month. That feature verifies your number for apps and websites if it's the same as the phone you're using without having to wait for a verification code via SMS. There's also another team in Seattle created a live-streaming experience within Messenger. The other entries in Facebook's list are the Voyager transponder, created in an effort to make sure the world's internet infrastructure can handle an increase in traffic going forward.
Finally, a team who participated at a hackathon in New York created a feature called "adaptive attachments," which might give users a way to upload photos to a shared album, create crowdsourced videos and play multiplayer games simply by commenting on a post someday. Since hackathons produce so many great products (and potential features) for the social network, we're pretty sure we'll see more of them in 2017.n in Seattle gave rise to instant verification for Android, which launched earlier this month. That feature verifies your number for apps and websites if it's the same as the phone you're using without having to wait for a verification code via SMS. There's also another team in Seattle created a live-streaming experience within Messenger. The other entries in Facebook's list are the Voyager transponder, created in an effort to make sure the world's internet infrastructure can handle an increase in traffic going forward.
Finally, a team who participated at a hackathon in New York created a feature called "adaptive attachments," which might give users a way to upload photos to a shared album, create crowdsourced videos and play multiplayer games simply by commenting on a post someday. Since hackathons produce so many great products (and potential features) for the social network, we're pretty sure we'll see more of them in 2017.


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Apple leaps into AI research with improved simulated + unsupervised learning
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Corporate machine learning research may be getting a new vanguard in Apple. Six researchers from the company’s recently formed machine learning group published a paper that describes a novel method for simulated + unsupervised learning. The aim is to improve the quality of synthetic training images. The work is a sign of the company’s aspirations to become a more visible leader in the ever growing field of AI.
GoogleFacebookMicrosoft and the rest of the techstablishment have been steadily growing their machine learning research groups. With hundreds of publications each, these companies’ academic pursuits have been well documented, but Apple has been stubborn — keeping its magic all to itself.
Things started to change earlier this month when Apple’s Director of AI Research, Russ Salakhutdinov, announced that the company would soon begin publishing research. The team’s first attempt is both timely and pragmatic.
In recent times, synthetic images and videos have been used with greater frequency to train machine learning models. Rather than use cost and time intensive real-world imagery, generated images are less costly, readily available and customizable.
The technique presents a lot of potential, but it’s risky because small imperfections in synthetic training material can have serious negative implications for a final product. Put another way, it’s hard to ensure generated images meet the same quality standards as real images.
Apple is proposing to use Generative Adversarial Networks or GANs to improve the quality of these synthetic training images. GANs are not new, but Apple is making modifications to serve its purpose.
At a high level, GANs work by taking advantage of the adversarial relationship between competing neural networks. In Apple’s case, a simulator generates synthetic images that are run through a refiner. These refined images are then sent to a discriminator that’s tasked with distinguishing real images from synthetic ones.
Apple leaps into AI research with improved simulated + unsupervised learning
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From a game theory perspective, the networks are competing in a two-player minimax game. The goal in this type of game is to minimize the maximum possible loss.
Apple SimGAN variation is trying to minimize both local adversarial loss and a self regulation term.  These terms simultaneously minimize the differences between synthetic and real images while minimizing the difference between synthetic and refined images to retain annotations. The idea here is that too much alteration can destroy the value of the unsupervised training set. If trees no-longer look like trees and the point of your model is to help self-driving cars recognize trees to avoid, you’ve failed.
The researchers also made some fine-tuned modifications, like forcing the models to use the full history of refined images, not just those from the mini-batch, to ensure the adversarial network can identify all generated images as fake at any given time. You can read more about these alterations directly from Apple’s work, entitled Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training. 
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Kid Hero Buys $250 in Pokémon Swag With Sleeping Mom's Thumbprint
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While Touch ID may feel like the most secure way to prevent others from accessing your phone, it cost Bethany Howell $250. While the Arkansas mother napped on the couch in the week before the holidays, her 6-year-old daughter Ashlynd borrowed her thumbprint to unlock her phone and opened the Amazon app.

“After Ashlynd’s parents received 13 order confirmations for Pokémon items, they initially thought they’d been hacked,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Or perhaps their innocent child bought Pokémon galore by mistake, the Howells wondered. “No, Mommy, I was shopping,” Ashlynd told her mom. “But don’t worry—everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house.”

Since Amazon only allowed the Howells to return four of the 13 items, they told their daughter that Santa “found out” what she wanted for Christmas, and that’s what she was going to get.

Did tech ruin Christmas? Or is Ashlynd currently in Pokémon heaven, thanking our dear lord she was born in the era of the iPhone?
Only time will tell.
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Top 10 Most Popular Linux Distributions Of 2016
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As the year 2016 comes to an end, it’s time to find out which Linux distributions are most popular. However, the news of the Linux world at the Desktop level was not very surprising, while in the segment of Internet of Things and Cloud, Linux has been one of the systems in the spotlight.
So, today we are going to know the most popular GNU / Linux distributions in 2016. So, let’s get started:-

01 – Mint

Linux Mint continues to be the most popular Linux distribution in the world. Features such as simplicity, elegance, and support make this distribution a success story.

02 – Debian

Debian (Ubuntu base and other known distributions) was undoubtedly one of the systems that marked the year 2013 and has been gaining more and more popularity. This is a very stable, clean and fairly fluid distribution.

03 – Ubuntu

With millions of users around the world, Ubuntu is the third most popular operating system in the world. This GNU / Linux distribution has already been the most popular in the world and has gained in recent years some (small) improvements.

04- openSUSE

The openSUSE project is a community project sponsored by Novell. By promoting the use of Linux everywhere, openSUSE.org provides one of the most commonly used Linux versions openSUSE for free. The openSUSE project aims to give programmers and Linux enthusiasts the best working tools with a very attractive interface.

05 – Manjaro

The Manjaro Linux is one of the most beautiful distributions, which facilitates the “input” of users in the world of Arch Linux. It is a rolling distro and has full compatibility with Arch repository (AUR – Arch User Repository).

06 – elementary OS

The elementary OS is a distribution based on Ubuntu and targeted to desktops. Although not very popular (only three versions so far – Jupiter, Luna and now Freya), this distribution has a fantastic look and feel, guarantees a good performance and is quite stable.

07 – Fedora

Fedora is a distribution sponsored by RedHat and is very popular for including features and technologies that are not seen in other distributions. Fedora is fast, stable and powerful operating system for daily use, built by a community worldwide. Currently, Fedora goes in version 25.

08 – ZorinOS

Zorin OS is one of those Linux distributions that stands out more than others for having some innovations and for looking very similar to Windows. Zorin OS brings to a working graphical environment for the Zorin Desktop.

09 – CentOS

The CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is an Enterprise – class Linux distribution, source code-based freely distributed by Red Hat and maintained by the CentOS project. For those who need stability, this is the ideal operating system.

10 – Manjaro

With a completely elegant and innovative look, the Deepin project from China continues to show that it could be a great alternative to popular Windows. This Linux distribution is based on Debian and comes with a very elegant, efficient and simplified graphical environment called Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) – it looks like a mixed Windows with MacOS.

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Facebook won't flag your friends on a map anymore
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Facebook is making some significant changes to its Nearby Friends feature that lets you see where pals are, Techcrunch has noticed. Most significantly, it has eliminated the precise tracking feature that tells you exactly where friends are by pinpointing them on a map. Now, you can only see them in a list along with an approximate distance away. While the original feature made it easy to check someone's progress or tell you when they arrive, for instance, it's also a bit of a privacy nightmare if you forget to turn it off.

With the change, Facebook appears to have moved Nearby Friends to a more prominent place on the front page, rather than being buried in the "More" section. Facebook is also ushering in a new feature called Wave, spotted earlier this month by Adweek and others. If you see someone in Nearby Friends, you can send a Wave to let them know you're around. Much like with a Poke, if that party is interested, they can message you back to arrange a meetup. "This is meant to give people more ways to express themselves and help friends interact with one another in new fun and lightweight ways," a Facebook spokesperson said at the time.

Despite losing the map the new tweaks mean that the Nearby Friends feature, which most folks probably don't even know exists, has gained some prominence on the social network. It's another way Facebook can make functions seen in other apps -- like Down to Lunch, in this case -- more useful because of its billion-plus user base.
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As we all know that the latest version of Google’s Operating System Android Nougat has already started rolling out in some high-end devices. It includes new features like central redesigned notifications, multi-window mode, battery power optimizations and much more.
We have already shared an article in which we have listed all the devices that are expected to receive Android Nougat update. The latest Android 7.0 Nougat OS update is slowly rolling out to the devices. So, here we have listed ten great new Android 7.0 Nougat features that you need to know.

1. Clear All Button

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Clear All Button
In latest Android Nougat 7.0, Google now includes a clear-all button that will help you to clear all the open apps with a single tap. The feature has been added to the very top of your card stack so you can clear up the clutter and tell Android Nougat that it can close any associated app process.

2. Data Saver

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Data Saver
In latest Android Nougat 7.0, Google now includes a clear-all button that will help you to clear all the open apps with a single tap. The feature has been added to the very top of your card stack so you can clear up the clutter and tell Android Nougat that it can close any associated app process.

3. Reply Messages

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Reply Messages
Android Nougat will have a Quick Reply feature which has an ability to reply a message directly from its notification. Therefore, you don’t need to open the app fully. Whenever you receive any message from Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, you will see a new reply option at the bottom of the alert.

4. Improved Notification Managements

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Improved Notification Panel

Whenever we get notification from any app, it shows multiple notifications from the same app as individual alerts. However, Multiple notifications from the same application will now get bundled together which will help you to save more space and will allow you to dismiss the notification more easily.

5. Notifications Managements

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Notifications Managements
With Android Nougat, you can disable or silent alerts for the respective apps. You just need to long-press on a notification and you will get to see the option to block or silence the notifications of any particular app.

6. New Settings Menu

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
New Settings Menu
The setting app in Android 7.0 is reconfigured. You can now quickly toggle between various sections using the hamburger menu on the left side of your screen. You can jump between different categories in settings with minimal effort by just sliding out the Settings menu from the left side of the display.

7. Use Two Apps At Same Time

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Use Two Apps At Same Time

Samsung users are already enjoying this new feature. However, with Android Nougat, Google is officially adding the multi-window feature to all its Android devices running on Android Nougat. Users just need to long press on any running apps and drag it to the top to open both the apps in multi-window.

8. Quick Settings Toggles

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Quick Settings Toggles
With Android Nougat, you can toggle the quick setting mode. You will get to see six settings icons at the top of your screen. You can simply tap on the icon to toggle the current status of the setting or can long press it for more option.

9. New Emoji

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
New Emoji

Android nougat comes up with over 1500 emoji including 72 new ones. The 72 new emoji in Nougat includes various skin tones courtesy of Unicode 9. Smiley faces now have a more human look and feels to them. Moreover, Google’s keyboard app includes a GIF keyboard by default.

10. Cancel Button for Ongoing Downloads

10 Android 7.0 Nougat Features You Need To Know
Cancel Button for Ongoing App Downloads
Now in previous versions of Android, you need to open Google Play store to cancel the ongoing downloads. However, Android Nougat 7.0 brings up the facilities to cancel the ongoing app download. So, no need to open Play store to cancel any ongoing downloads.

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Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL Linux desktop environment now available for x86 PCs
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In a rather curious turn, the Raspberry Pi foundation has released an x86 PC port of its PIXEL+Debian Linux desktop environment.
PIXEL (which is a clunky backronym for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight) is an extensively modified version of the LXDE X11 desktop environment. It was originally released in September for use with Raspberry Pi single-board computers, but now it has also been packaged up for x86 PCs. You can boot your Windows or Mac PC into the PIXEL desktop environment right now, if you so wish.
In the words of Eben Upton, founder of the foundation, PIXEL is "our best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment [...] Put simply, it’s the GNU/Linux we would want to use." To that end, PIXEL is both clean and modern-looking, but more importantly it is useful, with a wide range of productivity software and programming tools pre-installed. PIXEL doesn't eschew proprietary software, either; it even comes with the Adobe Flash browser plug-in.
Raspberry Pi’s PIXEL Linux desktop environment now available for x86 PCs
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The PIXEL ISO, which is a 1.3GB download, is essentially a "live" version of Debian 8.6 (Jessie) with PIXEL on top. You burn the ISO to a USB stick or DVD, pop it into your PC's USB socket, and viola: the PIXEL desktop. If you use a DVD, any changes you make to the system will be lost when you power off; if you use some kind of memory stick, you'll have the option of creating a "persistence partition" that lets you keep stuff between sessions. Raspberry Pi suggests you use Etcher if you want to burn the ISO to a USB stick.
While it's unlikely that Debian+PIXEL would nuke your Windows or Mac installation, it's probably worth backing up any important files before you proceed. Another option if you just want to check PIXEL out is to grab the ISO and load it up in VirtualBox or your preferred virtualisation tool.
Simon Long, an engineer at the foundation, says they plan to make an installable version of x86 PIXEL+Debian in the future if there's enough interest.
If you want to download PIXEL+Debian for your PC, I'd suggest using the torrent for now; it looks like the Raspberry Pi download server is being hammered. Another option is buying this month's edition of the MagPi magazine, in stores this morning, which has a bootable DVD on the cover.
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Facebook Gives You New Way to Shout Into the Void
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Picture this: you’re at home, alone, and you suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to bellow into the abyss. Perhaps you’ve just formulated a take too spicy for the written word. Perhaps you’re just mad about shit. You open up your Facebook app but right when you tap “LIVE” you catch sight of your face—hideous, gnarled, cracked and broken. You swiftly close out of the app, burdened with a heavy sense of grief. Still burdened with that yearning to release your hot take, you begin to weep.
Facebook has fixed this problem for you. On Tuesday, the company introduced Live Audio. In a blog post, Facebook explained that after seeing Pages find a myriad of “creative ways to go live and reach audiences with audio only” it decided to roll out an audio-only feature for Facebook Live.
Facebook Gives You New Way to Shout Into the Void
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Furthermore, the company explained that “Live Audio presents another option for connecting with audiences in real time from low-connectivity areas.”
Every day it becomes easier and easier to shout into the endless hollow chamber of social media. With Live Audio, you no longer even have to show your face. Your hollow eyes, full of grief can remain safe, hidden, distinctly yours.
But you’ll have to wait. Facebook will begin testing Live Audio in the coming weeks, partnering with BBC World Service, Harper Collins, and several others. The feature will be available to other publishers and users in early 2017.
Into the darkness, we slowly march.
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Super Mario Run' hits 40 million downloads in four days
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Nintendo has released official download figures for its first (true) smartphone game. 40 million people have tapped their way through the free version of Super Mario Run in just four days. The full game is priced at $10, but Nintendo didn't reveal exactly how many Mario Runners have decided to take the plunge. How does that compare to 2016's smartphone hit, Pokémon Go? Well, it's not a simple comparison.

Super Mario Run launched globally, but only on iPhones and iPads. Meanwhile Pokémon Go launched cross-platform, but rolled out slowly across the globe. Pokémon Go hit 30 million downloads in two weeks. In sheer money-making terms, both games are free to play (initially), and while Pokémon Godepended on in-app purchases, Mario Runjut offered the single ten-dollar purchase for the entire game. There's no other in-app purchases for Mario's smartphone debut, at least, not yet.
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How To Hack Apple Mac In Less Than 30 Seconds
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Previously we have seen security researchers cracked the security system of Windows 10 browser, Adobe Flash, Safari and even Google’s Pixel phone in few seconds. Another similar type of news just popped up this month which allows hackers to guess your credit/debit card PIN in just 6 seconds.
Recently, a security researcher has exploited a flaw in MacOS and used his $300 device and open source software to hack a sleeping Mac. The Swedish security researcher Ulf Frisk had demonstrated a new device that can steal the password from any Mac that’s sleeping or locked.
Frisk on his blog post explained the hardware that he used to hack a Mac costs only $300 to build. This device can be connected to a Mac through Thunderbolt port. The vulnerability that makes this hack possible exposes the Mac to DMA (Direct Memory Access) because it allows Thunderbolt devices to read and write memory.
Mac stores the password in memory in clear text. So, whenever the computer enters the sleep mode, the password resides there. During the rebooting process, there is a time window of a few seconds before the memory containing the password is overwritten with new content.

How To Hack Apple Mac In Less Than 30 Seconds
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So, any attacker just needs to connect the hacking device with an another laptop to Mac’s Thunderbolt port and force a reboot. The attack will also need Frisk’s open source PCILeech software. Frisk explains in a blog post:
“Anyone including, but not limited to, your colleagues, the police, the evil maid and the thief will have full access to your data as long as they can gain physical access – unless the mac is completely shut down. If the mac is sleeping it is still vulnerable. Just stroll up to a locked mac, plug in the Thunderbolt device, force a reboot (ctrl+cmd+power) and wait for the password to be displayed in less than 30 seconds!”
Frisk also shared a video that clearly shows how an attacker can use his device to hack Mac in 30 seconds. You can read out Frisk’s blog post for more technical details.
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Mark Zuckerberg's Custom Smart Home Is Just as Stupid as the Rest of Them
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Mark Zuckerberg is known to start each year by setting aggressive personal goals for himself. This year, he announced he was going to build an artificial intelligence (AI) that would help him control things around his smart home, like turning on the lights, starting home appliances, and playing music on various speakers. He named the system “Jarvis” after the digital butler from Iron Man—but after spending a full year of tweaking it, the AI is still being dogged by many of the same problems as the AI that’s out there today.
Today, Zuckerberg posted a long note on Facebook about the results of his year-long AI project, and went into detail about many of its shortcomings. The outcome of his project, while still an incredible feat of programming, sounds just as dumb as the other smart homes out there. It can basically only run a handful of commands—and it’s not for a lack of Zuck trying to do more.
The failures of Jarvis stem from the fact that there is a shortage of common standards and APIs that enable different brands of “smart” products to talk to each other. Without that necessary bridge between devices, stringing commands together can be rather difficult. For example, it’s hard to get a toaster to communicate with a alarm clock if they don’t speak the same programming language. Zuckerberg explains this in simple terms.
For assistants like Jarvis to be able to control everything in homes for more people, we need more devices to be connected and the industry needs to develop common APIs and standards for the devices to talk to each other.
While Jarvis is an impressive hobby project, it does fall significantly short of what’s already possible on systems like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The biggest difference is that developers can build skills for those systems by plugging into Amazon and Google’s respective APIs. But for Jarvis, Zuckerberg had to reverse-engineer a lot of those same tasks. It ended up making really basic tasks a huge burden to program, as Zuckerberg explains in his post.
Before I could build any AI, I first needed to write code to connect these systems, which all speak different languages and protocols. ... I had to reverse engineer APIs for some of these to even get to the point where I could issue a command from my computer to turn the lights on or get a song to play.
The other huge problem is simply manpower. When you’re working with existing APIs and huge teams of engineers, it’s easier to divvy up responsibilities, like building different variations of the same command. Zuckerberg, however, had to program everything himself. He explains how this quickly became a time sink when he tried to program various requests for music. Apparently teaching Jarvis (or any other AI) the difference between “play someone like Adele” and “play some Adele” is really difficult. Zuckerberg also touched on the problem of teaching AI context.
Understanding context is important for any AI. For example, when I tell it to turn the AC up in “my office”, that means something completely different from when Priscilla tells it the exact same thing. That one caused some issues! Or, for example, when you ask it to make the lights dimmer or to play a song without specifying a room, it needs to know where you are or it might end up blasting music in Max’s room when we really need her to take a nap. Whoops.
Zuckerberg also identifies a bigger problem that filtered up while he was trying to build his smart home hub. It had to do more with Jarvis’s inability to learn new tasks over time.
I spent about 100 hours building Jarvis this year, and now I have a pretty good system that understands me and can do lots of things. But even if I spent 1,000 more hours, I probably wouldn’t be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own—unless I made some fundamental breakthrough in the state of AI along the way.
In short, Mark Zuckerberg appears to have built a pretty cool AI, something he can use to play games with his wife and daughter Max, and even use it to control different appliances around his gigantic home. But at the end of the day, even a genius like Zuckerberg is bound to the same shortcomings of technology that the rest of us are. So, it’s safe to say that if someone as smart and wealthy as Zuckerberg can’t get a smart home working properly, it will probably be hard for anyone to do it.