In a recent “town hall” Q&A posted to Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked a bevy of questions from personalities as wide ranging as Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Stephen Hawking, and while he lobbed a few softball answers out, most interesting was his response to what he envisions as the future of Facebook:
“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.“
If it sounds like a page out of Spock’s playbook, it is, but there’s actually something to what Mark is talking about. It’s obviously a very distant aspect of Facebook, but it’s believed that by teaching machines how to better communicate with each other and understand all the data we’re chucking at them, we make advanced social media more a part of our lives than ever before.
“In order to do this really well, our goal is to build AI systems that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc.
For vision, we’re building systems that can recognize everything that’s in an image or a video. This includes people, objects, scenes, etc. These systems need to understand the context of the images and videos as well as whatever is in them.
For listening and language, we’re focusing on translating speech to text, text between any languages, and also being able to answer any natural language question you ask.”
It is a bit Skynet, but it makes a lot of sense. It also goes hand-in-hand with the kind of virtual reality experience that Facebook hopes to someday take part in, as evidenced by their billion-dollar acquisition of the Oculus Rift last year, a sure sign that someday you’ll scroll through photos of your friends’ pets and weddings like you’re in Minority Report.
“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.”
Today it’s just an answer to a question, but it might be possible tomorrow. Until then, you’ll have to lurk on your exes Facebook pages the old-fashioned way.