Appearing remotely from California in front of a Paris crowd on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision for the future of virtual and augmented reality.
Virtual reality – computer generated 3D environments that can range from startlingly realistic to abstract wonderlands – has been on the cusp of wide acceptance for years without ever really taking off.
Facebook was so wowed by early demonstrations of the Oculus Rift back in 2012 that it bought the company for $2 billion. It launched the $300 Oculus Quest 2 headset last October.
Describing his vision for augmented reality, Zuckerberg says:
“If I can’t make it to Paris, you’ll have a hologram Mark sitting on the couch next to you, or I’ll have hologram Maurice sitting on my couch here, in California.
“And when I want to show you what the next version of Quest or the augmented reality glasses are that we’re working on, I’ll just be able to snap my fingers, and here’s a hologram version of it. And I can hand it to you, and you can touch it and you can put it on and feel it. You know, if we want to play a game, we’ll be able to just snap my fingers here’s the game.
“So, it’s going to be incredibly powerful.”
The social network introduced a new feature called Facebook Shops in May 2020. It’s a place where businesses can set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.
Asked by Viva Technology co-founder Maurice Levy whether the platform was intended to rival e-commerce giant Amazon, Zuckerberg said: “I don’t think we’re making a dent in Amazon yet.”
Asked about his experiences in the last year and the coronavirus pandemic, Zuckerberg said there was one silver-lining – spending more time with his two young daughters.
“They’re five and three-years-old now. It’s been nice. You know, I think they’re used to us not traveling at this point. So, when we get back to traveling and doing work, I think they’re going to be kind of confused about what’s going on. But it’s been really nice to just be around and watch them grow up and get more time with them,” he says.
Viva Technology opened on Wednesday and will run through Saturday.
The event features a blockbuster lineup of speakers, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft’s Brad Smith, although many appearing virtually. Last year’s gathering was cancelled due to the pandemic.