Harry McCracken – FastCompany – Facebook is firing on all cylinders. Now Mark Zuckerberg is looking to the decade ahead, from AI to VR to drones.
“The Facebook of today—and tomorrow—is far more expansive than it was just a few years ago. It’s easy to forget that when the company filed to go public on February 1, 2012, it was just a single website and an app that the experts weren’t sure could ever be profitable. Now, “a billion and a half people use the main, core Facebook service, and that’s growing. But 900 million people use WhatsApp, and that’s an important part of the whole ecosystem now,” Zuckerberg says. “Four hundred million people use Instagram, 700 million people use Messenger, and 700 million people use Groups. Increasingly, we’re just going to go more and more in this direction.” To further grow these services and any others that Facebook develops or acquires, Zuckerberg is betting his company’s future on three major technology initiatives. One is developing advanced artificial intelligence that can help Facebook understand what matters to users. The second is virtual reality, in the form of Oculus VR, the groundbreaking company that Facebook acquired in March 2014 for $2 billion, which Zuckerberg believes will be the next major technology we use to interact with each other. And the third is bringing the Internet, including Facebook, of course, to the 4 billion–plus humans who aren’t yet connected, even if it requires flying a drone over a village and beaming data down via laser.”