acebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg made an appearance on ‘The Good Time Show,’ a talk show on the invite-only Clubhouse app. Zuckerberg revealed information about Facebook’s progress in augmented reality and virtual reality.
Clubhouse is a new social media platform launched in 2020, it’s audio only and users must be invited to join. It has been dubbed the ‘the world’s buzziest new social network.’ As of December 2020, it was valued at nearly $100 million. On January 21, 2021, the valuation hit one billion US dollars. Zuckerberg was not scheduled on ‘The Good Time Show,’ but made a surprise appearance for around a quarter of an hour to discuss AR and VR technology.
Zuckerberg stated ‘we should be teleporting, not transporting’ and went on to state that he believes the futuristic work being done at Facebook’s Reality Labs group could soon make it happen or at least virtually.
The CEO said:
‘One of the things that [VR] will unlock is the ability to live anywhere you want and be present in another place and really feel like you are there… ‘It is going to unlock a lot of economic opportunity because people will be able to live where they want and increasingly work where they want and kind of teleport into place.'
‘I am also pretty optimistic about the impact on climate, in reducing the amount of commuting that people have to do… I think the advance in electric cars in reducing emissions is great and exciting, but I tell my team that it is easier to move bits of atoms around so we should be teleporting, not driving.’
Creating this sense of presence without physically being at the location appears to be the dominant focus of Facebook’s Reality Labs. Zuckerberg expanded commenting that the team is working on foundational technologies that will lead to the feeling of being with another person without having to travel.
‘There is getting all the graphics and visual systems to really feel like you are immersed in the space… There’s a long path of technology that needs to get done to kind of get that to be as realistic as you would want on VR’.
However, augmented reality, according to Zuckerberg, is ‘a whole other game.’ Due to the fact that unlike VR, which immerses users in an entirely different world, AR allows users to place things into the physical world around them.
Zuckerberg discussed how AR is now becoming a main stream technology, which seems to solve the problem that led to the failure of Google Glass. His comments may suggest Facebook is currently working on that solution.
Zuckerberg alluded that Facebook may be currently working on wearable AR devices, discussing that the technology will have to be made in a socially acceptable pair to thick-rimmed glasses.
The CEO explained:
‘In order for AR to work it has this additional challenge that VR doesn’t is that people who are going to be wearing this around during the day it needs to fit into a pretty small form factor, like normal looking glasses… So now you have the challenge of delivering all this technology and create this sense of presence but doing it in a normal thick-rimmed pair of glasses.’
Zuckerberg went on to say:
‘You’re basically taking a lot of technology that doesn’t exist yet and miniaturizing it down so it fits into a few millimeters thick and that can work on a device all day long by a battery.’
Zuckerberg discussed how the lockdowns have changed the working environment permanently, proving that there is no need for a physical office. This has consequently meant that the CEO now plans on having 50% of the Facebook staff working remotely permanently by the end of the decade with the help of VR technology.
The surprise appearance on the Clubhouse app has also raised speculation as a way of infiltrating the up-and-coming social app, which could mean a potential acquisition or copying of the platform. Users took to Twitter to share their theories.
One twitter user stated:
'Listening to Mark Zuckerberg chat on Clubhouse, it's impossible not to wonder how long before Facebook releases its own version of this product,'
While other Twitter users believe that Zuckerberg is going to buy Clubhouse. One user thinks the CEO could make his own spin off of 'audio rooms' that would be available on Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger.