Flickr user post-apocalyptic research institute
Some of us dream about what the future will be like. Others have billions of dollars at their disposal to make it a reality. When one of these few ultra-rich technology folks opines about the future, my ears perk up.
During a public town hall in Barcelona this week, Facebook co-founder and t-shirt enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg fielded a question about what the company plans on building in the long-term future.
Zuckerberg said he has no interest in self-driving cars or healthcare, but he is laser-focused on the future of content: text, video, pictures, etc. He alluded to the fact that virtual reality will be the next phase after video, where people can present an idealized model of what they’re experiencing or thinking instantaneously.
“One thing I’m really excited about is the work we’re doing in virtual reality and augmented reality with Oculus,” he said, speaking about the virtual reality company Facebook recently purchased.
I believe that this continues this trajectory, going from text, to photos, to videos, to fully immersive scenes that you can be a part of. And that you can construct models and different things instantaneously to show people much richer descriptions of what you’re thinking or experiencing at that point.
He concluded, “I think that’s something that you’ll see play out in the next 5 or 10 years.”
To some extent, this is already happening in a very basic (and pixelated) way with the online sensation, Minecraft, a virtual world made entirely of blocks. But, even for virtual reality, content still obeys the so-called 1% rule of the Internet, where 90 percent of viewers are not activitely participating or contributing.
But, just as blogging made many more writers than professional journalists, so too will technology make it much easier to construct virtual worlds with little effort (perhaps just our minds). Instead of just showing someone a new product idea or vision for the government, we’ll be able to construct an immersive experience, instantaneously, of the vision in our minds.
Seems like science fiction, but the near-term future always does.
Readers can watch the full Q&A with Mark Zuckerberg here.
*The Ferenstein Wire is a syndicated news service. For questions, email greg at greg ferenstein dot com.