Social media has already become an intrinsic part of many people’s everyday lives. These days it seems the only escape we have is within our own mind, but that might just change in the next few years according to Mark Zuckerberg at an hour-long question and answer session this past week.
“One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly, using technology. You’ll be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too, if you’d like. This would be the ultimate communication technology.” said the 31 year old entrepreneur.
In a response to a question, Zuckerberg stated that helping people’s ability to share information was one of his primary objectives for the website.
“There are a few important trends in human communication that we hope to improve,” he said. “First, people are gaining the power to share in richer and richer ways. We used to just share in text, and now we post mainly with photos. In the future video will be even more important than photos. After that, immersive experiences like virtual reality will become the norm. And after that, we’ll have the power to share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we’d like.”
“Second, people are gaining the power to communicate more frequently,” he continued. “We used to have to be with someone in person. Then we had these bulky computers. Now we have these incredible devices in our pockets, but we only use them periodically throughout the day. In the future, we’ll have augmented reality and other devices that we can wear almost all the time to improve our experience and communication.”
The Facebook founder also received questions from a few celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger (who of course asked about his exercise routine) and Stephen Hawking – who posed a more thoughtful inquiry, asking him ‘which of the big questions in science’ he would like to know the answer to and why.
“I’m most interested in questions about people,” answered Zuckerberg. “What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how can we empower humans to lean a million times more? I’m also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about.”
The social media patron expressed his affection towards exploring the world of communication, noting how many aspects of our life have been enhanced with today’s technology.
“Our lives improve as our communication tools get better in many ways. We can build richer relationships with the people we love and care about. We know about what’s going on in the world and can make better decisions in our jobs and lives,” he said. “We are also more informed and can make better decisions collectively as a society. This increase in the power people have to share is one of the major forces driving the world today.”
Overall he seems to be entirely set on possibility. Personally, I find the idea of a telepathic Facebook quite unsettling. As much as social media does have the potential to improve upon our communication and knowledge, far too many people are already alarmingly addicted to Facebook and other such websites. Is the ability to share information at the click of the button – or by a simple thought for that matter – really the best way to spread knowledge or does it promote a hive-mind way of thinking amongst peers? I can’t help but worry that in the pursuit of creating ‘improved communication skills’ we are instead creating more vehicles for idealization, and subsequently producing more confusion within the minds of the youth. Maybe it won’t be as dystopia as it sounds, but I think I might just delete my Facebook account before any of this new technology is realized…