Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke out on the topic at the company’s third “town hall” meeting.
The meeting is a way of getting feedback from users about the social network, and this time Zuckerberg offered his frank opinions on existing augmented reality and virtual reality hardware, calling it “very, very rough.” He then predicted that in a decade from now such devices could be the most popular way to access the internet.
Lots of room for improvement
“I think it’s pretty easy to imagine that in the future we will have something that we can wear,” said Zuckerberg, speaking from Colombian capital Bogotá. “It will look just like normal glasses — it won’t look weird like some of the stuff that exists today.”
It may be that Zuckerberg was aiming his criticism at devices such as Google Glass, but he also acknowledged that Oculus Rift, which is owned by Facebook, is at an “extremely early stage.” According to Zuckerberg the current generation of devices are as bad as the first generation of mobile phones.
Zuckerberg: Internet access and social media
The future of Facebook was also on the agenda, and Zuckerberg predicts an explosion in the availability of the Internet around the world. “I really think that in 10 years … more than two-thirds of people should be on the internet,” he said.
He also claimed that the number of firms with social services would increase. “In the future there will be a bunch of companies that are doing great work,” said Zuckerberg, and of course Facebook owns some of them already. “We have the Facebook product, we also have messenger. Whatsapp joined us, Instagram joined us.”
Zuckerberg was also asked to justify Facebook’s supposed commitment to encouraging expression and “connecting people,” while at the same time applying the censorship rules of countries in which it operates. He claimed that breaking laws would lead to a complete blocking of Facebook, and consequently less communication. “It becomes a very tricky calculus,” he said. “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.”