RICHARD ORD: Cobblers to New Year resolutions

Richard, making his shoes.
Richard, making his shoes.

Every year, I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside my work at this newspaper.

My challenges in recent years have been to read two books in a year, eat more mandarin oranges and to avoid at least one new person every day.

My challenges, or New Year resolutions if you like, are not too dissimilar to those of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

He revealed this week how in recent years he has challenged himself to “read two books every month, learn Mandarin and meet a new person every day.”

Well, they’re near enough to my resolutions.

Zuckerberg has a habit of setting the resolution bar quite high (show offs are like that).

While you and I are considering a diet (maybe reducing our sugar intake to just one spoonful on our chips) or cutting down the booze (two instead of three small glasses of wine … before breakfast), clever clogs Mr Z has revealed this doozy of a New Year resolution for 2016.

“My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI to run my home and help with my work,” he posted on Facebook. “You can think of it like Jarvis in Iron Man.”

It puts my resolution to clear out the loft into perspective.

Mark Zuckerberg is to build an artificially intelligent robot to run his entire home and help out with the upbringing of his new daughter, Max, while I’m struggling to complete one side on our Isaac’s Rubik’s Cube.

To be fair, saying you’re going to build an AI system to run your affairs is a lot different to actually doing it. (And to be fair, completing a Rubik’s Cube is a lot harder these days. They don’t have the square stickers you could peel off and rearrange.)

Every year I vow to exercise more, drink less and get in touch with old friends. And every year, like most resolutions, they are abandoned by January 17.

I give Zuckerberg to the end of February before he jacks it all in and reverts back to posting photos of his dinner or the family pet cat in a Santa hat on Facebook.

You’ll have noticed he said he’s going to build a “simple” artificial intelligence. Yep, he wants to keep it simple. Okay, he invented Facebook, but one lucky break doesn’t make you a genius.

He’s now surrounded by so many yes men he probably thinks he can do anything. No one dare say anything against him. I mean, he’s given his daughter a boy’s name … but has anyone dare tell him? Of course not.

My New Year resolution is not to build an AI robot, but to complete the Christmas gift my wife bought me. A make your own shoes kit!

I mentioned that shoe-making was a lost art. So she bought me a shoe-making kit.

She bought me it as a present three Christmases ago.

My determination to complete this task, can be thought of, just like Zuckerberg put it, “like Jarvis in Iron Man.” ie. a work of fiction.