When it comes to the future of computing, Mark Zuckerberg has some pretty straightforward opinions. Speaking at Facebook’s third "town hall" meeting (informal Q&As with users to get feedback about the site), the 30-year-old said the current crop of augmented reality and virtual reality hardware was still "very, very rough" but in as soon as 10 years' time they’ll be the main way we access the internet.
"It won't look weird like some of the stuff that exists today."
"I think it’s pretty easy to imagine that in the future we will have something that we can wear," said Zuckerberg, speaking from Bogotá in Colombia. "It will look just like normal glasses — it won’t look weird like some of the stuff that exists today." Zuckerberg’s comments seems directed at the likes of Google Glass, but he also admitted that even the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is at a similar, "extremely early stage," comparing the current playing field as a whole to the first "terrible" mobile phones.
"I don’t know if it’s going to be ten years, or 15, or 20 but there will be another platform after computers that becomes the primary computing platform and we’re really excited to build that," said Zuckerberg. "We’re working on that with Oculus, who we think are by far the leader in virtual reality at this point, and it’s going to be very exciting to see how that develops."
The future will be full of social companies — and Facebook already owns a few
As well as answering questions on the future of computing, Zuckerberg also talked about the future of Facebook, saying that the biggest trend by far was simply going to be the increase in internet access around the world — "I really think that in 10 years … more than two-thirds of people should be on the internet" — but that there would also be a proliferation of firms providing social services. "In the future there will be a bunch of companies that are doing great work," said Zuckerberg, adding that Facebook already owns a few of them. "We have the Facebook product, we also have Messenger. Whatsapp joined us, Instagram joined us."
Zuckerberg was also questioned on the apparent hypocrisy of touting grand ideas about "connecting people" and encouraging expression, while also adhering to censorship rules of countries that Facebook operates in. "The real question that we ask is ‘does that actually give more people the ability to express more things?’" he said, adding that if you break the law in a country then that country will just block Facebook entirely, leading to even less communication. "It becomes a very tricky calculus. We try to push back … [but] I can’t think of many examples in history where a company not being in a country in protest of a law has actually changed that law."