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What Mark Zuckerberg's Q&A told us about the future of Facebook

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We finally learnt something from a Facebook post. 

No, not that conspiracy against UFO hunters your friend Gareth keeps posting links to (why are you even still friends with him? You've not met in eight years and even when you knew him he made you uncomfortable) - something far more insightful.

On 30 June, Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to his own social network to answer anyone's questions for an hour

Amidst the predictable shit storm of spam comments and illegible insults, a crop of queries - some from general punters, others from famed names - provoked some interesting responses from the 31-year-old entrepreneur. Here are some of the most thought provoking exchanges from the hour-long Q&A.


Facebook has big VR plans in store

VR

Hardly surprising when the company spent $2 billion acquiring the virtual reality tech group Oculus - but Zuckerberg's thoughts on VR revealed a little more of what the company has in mind for their fancy face mask.

"...we're working on VR because I think it's the next major computing and communication platform after phones," Zuckerberg said in response to Jenni Moore's question about what Facebook was planning for the next 10 years. "In the future we'll probably still carry phones in our pockets, but I think we'll also have glasses on our faces that can help us out throughout the day and give us the ability to share our experiences with those we love in completely immersive and new ways that aren't possible today."

So, expect a Facebook version of Google's ill-fated Glass? And on the topic of sharing experiences...


Facebook AI wants to know everything about you

There are two ways you can read into Zuckerberg's comments on what his plans for Facebook's AI systems mean for users.

One is with the same friendly, "wouldn't it be great if..." attitude that Zuckerberg presents it with. The other is from the point of view of someone who's spent too much time watching Terminator films and has a computer-free bunker in their garden. 

Facebook

While there won't be anything deeply sinister about Facebook collecting this sort of information on its users (it already does, to some degree), it might leave some feeling a touch uncomfortable about just what the social network does with this data - like selling it to advertisers.


Zuckerberg thinks we're going to be able to share emotions digitally

Charles

In a moment of grand speculation, Zuckerberg hypothesised that the next logical step after immersive experiences like VR have become the "norm", we'll start working on technology that allows us to "share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we'd like". 

"One day, I believe we'll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You'll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you'd like. This would be the ultimate communication technology."

There's a strong possibility Zuckerberg's ideas stem from one of the titles he's recently picked for the Facebook 'A Year of Books' group: The Player of Games by Iain M Banks concerns a future civilisation in which communication technologies far surpass our current ideas of computers and social media. 


Zuckerberg wants to define human social relationships with a mathematical law

In a curious collision of the fields of social sciences and theoretical physics, a question from the legendary Stephen Hawking saw Zuckerberg hint at just how he thinks we might be able to understand and define human relationships...

Zuckerberg

Heart warming stuff. 

(Images: Facebook, Rex)

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