Public Q&A sessions at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters have become a regular part of company life since CEO Mark Zuckerberg led the first one in November 2014.
Keen to do things a little differently this month, Zuck turned to the Web for his latest session, taking questions on his Facebook page from not only regular members of the public but also actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and physicist Stephen Hawking. Yes, the Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Stephen Hawking.
If you needed any more convincing that this was no ordinary Q&A session, the Facebook boss also talked about how he believes technology is on its way that’ll give us the ability to send an emotion or feeling to someone just by thinking about it.
Describing the capability as “the ultimate communication technology,” Zuck said that one day “we’ll have the power to share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we’d like….you’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too.”
It sounds like a tantalizing prospect, though it might get complicated if lots of Facebook friends suddenly blast you with an array of emotions all at the same time. Hopefully there’ll be a way to turn it off in settings.
Schwarzenegger and Hawking
But what of those famous folks, Schwarzenegger and Hawking? Seems like Facebook’s PR minions had been hard at work, but it was probably a nice surprise for those following the session.
The acclaimed physicist asked Zuckerberg which of the big science questions he’d liked answered, not that Hawking had any intention of tackling them there and then, mind you.
Tapping out his responses on his Apple laptop, the Facebook CEO said he was most interested in questions about people. “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 learn a million times more?” he wrote.
Arnie, meanwhile, wanted to know how Zuck finds the time to stay fit, and, more importantly, whether the machines will win. Apparently he works out three times a week and enjoys running with his dog because it’s “basically like seeing a mop run.” Oh, and he said that the machines won’t win.
In other responses, Zuck pondered how technology has allowed us to communicate more freely, and considered how it’ll continue to develop.
“We used to have to be with someone in person. Then we had these bulky computers at our desks or that we could carry around. Now we have these incredible devices in our pockets all the time, but we only use them periodically throughout the day. In the future, we’ll have AR and other devices that we can wear almost all the time to improve our experience and communication.”
Commenting more broadly, the Facebook boss said he believes people’s lives are improving as our communication tools get better. “We can build richer relationships with the people we love and care about,” he wrote. “We know about what’s going on in the world and can make better decisions in our jobs and lives. 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.”
Zuckerberg’s belief in working to improve communications, which of course would benefit his business too, is the motivating force behind a global Facebook-backed project that plans to use drones to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world.