Every year from April 18 to April 19 in San Jose, California, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, holds the technology conference, F8. The official landing page for the event describes F8 as the place, “Where developers and businesses come together to explore the future of technology.”
F8 attracts millions of developers, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts, who are eager to see the technology projections Facebook plans to make for the upcoming year. This year, one of the larger themes discussed at the two day conference was Augmented Reality technology within the smartphone application of the app.
Recode.net journalist, Kurt Wagner, explains in “Mark Zuckerberg, in His Own Words, on Why AR is Facebook’s Next Big Platform Bet,” that Augmented Reality technology is, in Zuckerberg’s vision, “To produce digital objects using software-powered glasses, the kind of futuristic lenses that can overlay digital text and images onto the physical world around you.”
Facebook’s goal with this new feature, is to further connect users to their surroundings.
In his keynote speech at the conference, Zuckerberg revealed his 10 year plan for the company, which was first introduced in April 2016.
The company developed a three-stage plan: first, Facebook wants to dedicate time to develop more innovative, neat technology. In the second stage, Facebook wants to build a product surrounding those developments and in the final stage of their plan, Facebook wants to create a technology ecosystem where engineers and other companies are able to use these platforms to improve their businesses. The plan Facebook has will allow companies and business owners to extend beyond their social media lines, and into the global market. Zuckerberg also wants to have universal internet connectivity, and has been successful with their Aquila drone, that beams internet connectivity in the most remote locations.
Facebook’s future goals also include minimizing the gap between computers, humans and screens. Zuckerberg wants to reduce the time users spend looking at their screen and show all of our computing needs straight to our brains, through Augmented Reality technology. Many shareholders and consumers are very excited about this new mixed-reality feature. It has the potential to open doors for developers to create future environments for the users’ experience. At the time it is unclear about the degree of information Facebook would be able to access from consumers through Augmented Reality technology.
During the conference, Oculus revealed “Facebook Spaces,” which is a VR environment that allows you to hangout with your friends whether they are in the physical room or have the Oculus headset on. With this advancement in Artificial Intelligence, it is possible that these new Facebook features may become so widespread that it is a commonplace way for people and their friends to hang out with each other in the future. This is one example of how Facebook is going to revamp their platforms with Artificial Intelligence.
On the surface, the future of Facebook and its future features seem as though they are something from a sci-fi movie, however, it’s closer than we think. Different parts of the plan and other improvements will be revealed to us in the upcoming years. If Zuckerberg’s projection for Augmented Reality is what transpires, it would seem that people will be looking at their screens less and less, and moreso living in a dual, real and artificially generated, world.
As consumers, it will be interesting to see the way the landscape of social media will potentially change through this new Augmented Reality technology and advances in Artificial intelligence. Ultimately, the future of technology and its advancement is in the hands of developers and companies who shape the world, and media, people experience. And for developers and engineers, this is a playground of different tools and environments that can be created.
For the time being, it is unclear how exactly people will experience this Augmented Reality and advances in Artificial Intelligence, but it is exciting to think of what is to come from these advances in technology, and how soon it is that people will get to experience it.