“I Hope To Continue Understanding The Faith More Deeply”

Which one of you geniuses broke Mark Zuckerberg? We can’t have anything nice because of you people!

I’m not a big fan of Facebook. Every day hundreds of millions of citizens around the world create content for the corporation for free, which would make it by far history’s largest sweatshop except even those toiling in airless factories are paid a pittance. Not only do “friends” contribute this work, they’re also tracked relentlessly and occasionally serve as lab rats for social experiments.

Even beyond the corrosive nature of surveillance capitalism, the whole enterprise just seems unhealthy psychologically. I don’t think every day should be a high school reunion. Maybe we should leave some things behind, move on, grow up. Facebook just seems like an unhappiness machine to me.

None of my peeves seem to bother the communications wunderkind, but perhaps the recent fake news outrage has driven him over the edge? Two recent stories about Zuckerberg make it clear he’s had a come-to-Jesus moment and also a come-to-Jarvis one. He’s searching for guidance or God or AI or some entity with intelligence. Zuck may be the sort of billionaire hippie we haven’t seen since Gerald Levin. Hopefully, it works out better for him.

Two excerpts follow.

The opening of “Mark Zuckerberg Builds an AI Assistant to Run His House — and Entertain His Toddler,” a WaPo piece by Abha Bhattarai:

Mark Zuckerberg has a new housemate: Jarvis, an artificial intelligence assistant he created this year that can control appliances, play music, recognize faces and, perhaps most impressively, entertain his toddler.

The Facebook founder spent 100 hours putting together the virtual assistant — named after the artificial intelligence system in “Iron Man” — which understands spoken commands as well as text messages, he wrote in a 3,000-word Facebook post Monday.

Among Jarvis’s skills: adjusting the home thermostat, turning on lights and operating the toaster. The virtual assistant texts Zuckerberg images of visitors who stop by during the day and opens the front door for those it recognizes. It can also tell when Zuckerberg’s 1-year-old daughter, Max, wakes up “so it can start playing music or a Mandarin lesson,” he wrote.

In a tongue-in-cheek video he posted Tuesday on Facebook, Zuckerberg offers an example of Jarvis at work: “Max woke up a few minutes ago. I’m entertaining her,” the virtual assistant (voiced by Morgan Freeman) tells Zuckerberg, before turning his attention to the toddler. “Good morning Max, let’s practice our Mandarin.”

The year-long project was part of an effort to learn about the state of artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg wrote.•

The opening of April Siese’s Quartz post “Mark Zuckerberg Says He’s No Longer an Atheist“:

For years, Mark Zuckerberg identified as an atheist—at least on his profile page. But in a holiday message posted on Dec. 25, the Facebook CEO nods at a potential return to religion.

Zuck wished his friends a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me!,” to which one user replied “Aren’t you an atheist?”

“No,” Zuckerberg responded. “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

The Facebook founder has alluded to his spirituality in the past. During a trip to China in 2015, Zuckerberg “offered a prayer for peace and health for the world and for my family” in front of Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an. “Buddhism is an amazing religion and philosophy, and I have been learning more about it over time,” he wrote on Facebook at the time. “I hope to continue understanding the faith more deeply.”•

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