If you’re an Iron Man fan, you already know about Jarvis, Tony Stark’s personal assistant (who’s either a human or a virtual AI, depending on how long you’ve been following the comic). Jarvis is the glue that keeps Stark’s business, personal and super hero lives running smoothly. Which is why Jarvis is a perfect name for the digital assistant built by a team at this year’s Disrupt NY Hackathon.
Hack co-creator Felix Rieseberg talked me through how Jarvis works, using APIs provided by Twilio, Weather Underground and Ninja Blocks to help you control your home and check the current conditions, headlines and what’s making news, and more, all just by dialing a number from any telephone and issuing voice commands, It’s like a Siri, but housed on Windows Azure and able to plug into a lot more functionality.
Rieseberg says that a practical Jarvis is still quite a ways away, since it’s not a true AI and could get easily frustrated in real-world conditions. But the appetite is clearly there: he said he was already approached and offered seed investment based just on the quick demo that was shown of onstage, where Jarvis turned off a Ninja Blocks-connected Philips Hue lamp.
What Jarvis embodies is a natural next step for the connected home and digital personal assistants, but Jarvis is more a proof of concept than a shipping product. Still, one day soon controlling your home from anywhere and gathering information will be just as easy as making a phone call, and Jarvis is a suggestion that day isn’t too far off.