Iron Man has a way with women, plenty of money, all of the coolest toys…but any fan of Marvel or the Avengers will tell you that the coolest thing he possesses is J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just a Rather Very Intelligent System). If you have ever longed for the kind of home computer that could give you advice while caring for every automated system in your home, it may be a reality that is on the horizon. Marvel has applied to register Jarvis as a name for a product that could be: computer software or a mobile app that behaves as a voice-activated digital assistant.
If you happen to use an iOS device, you may already have a taste of J.A.R.V.I.S. in your hands with the Marvel Iron Man 3 app –interacting with him using voice commands that will create customized alarm clocks, download ringtones, check the weather or post to Facebook. Unfortunately, inside this app, J.A.R.V.I.S. behaves less like Siri on serious steroids and more like a marketing gimmick.
So what does Marvel have in store? Aside from having the coolest foundation concept for a digital assistant, they may be watching the rapidly growing trend toward total home automation. In iOS 8, Apple has added functionality that lets you summon Siri with the phrase: “Hey, Siri!” –cool to be sure, but it wouldn’t compare to being greeted by J.A.R.V.I.S. saying: “Welcome home, maam… your body temperature suggests I should increase the ambient room temperature by 2 degrees and brew a pot of dark roast.” (hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?)
While it may seem a little far-fetched, Marvel may not think so –when you consider smartphones full of heart-rate monitors and schedules and emails and access to the Internet (not to mention the ability for communication between other external devices throughout your home), the concept of a ‘portal app turned digital assistant’ makes good sense… and who wouldn’t want to feel like one of the Avengers?
One very important question remains: in a battle royal involving Siri, Hal 9000, and J.A.R.V.I.S., where do you place your bets?