With virtual reality, can Facebook make the world a better place?

- Feb 06, 2018-

With virtual reality, can Facebook make the world a better place?

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Facebook wants to use virtual reality to improve the world.

At last year's Facebook F8 developer conference, zuckerberg outlined a way to make virtual reality mainstream: social VR, or connecting people in a virtual world. But now Facebook has a bigger plan. Oculus Connect conference held on October 11, the theme of the speech, Mr Zuckerberg to share such a future: let virtual reality to improve every aspect of our lives, not just to improve our social. More surprising, he says, is that Facebook wants to get 1 billion people to use VR in the future.

Whether Facebook can achieve that vision depends on three factors: access to devices, content and business applications.

Zuckerberg has updated his vision.

Oculus Connect is an annual event, developers and content creators, based on the Oculus in the VR world influence, is arguably the VR Oculus Connect the vane of the industry, it also makes the Oculus Connect mark zuckerberg described VR of his own vision of the ideal places. In his keynote speech to redefine the virtual reality application scenario for the future, think of virtual reality can improve every aspect of our daily life, rather than just connecting people through virtual reality.

"We believe that one day almost everyone will use virtual reality to improve the way we work, the way we entertain ourselves, and the way we connect with others. Virtual reality is not about escaping reality, it's about making reality better. It can better cure disease, connect with families, spread compassion, rethink work, improve games, and it can connect us more closely. "Zuckerberg said.

"We want to have a billion people using virtual reality," he added. "we have to make sure that everyone has access to virtual reality."

About when can achieve his goal, he does not give an exact point in time, but he provides us with a data: according to the data from eMarketer, in the United States, now only 9.6 million people use at least once each month the virtual reality technology.

We can challenge zuckerberg's ambitious goal of using VR for a billion people, even laughing at it. But zuckerberg is right. As he points out, in addition to using virtual reality for games and entertainment, virtual reality has been used in many other places, such as:

(1) the field of medical health: "Oculus Walk Again Project" is a Project that USES VR to help paraplegic patients to learn to Walk Again.

(2) work area: use Oculus to help Facebook employees who work in different places to collaborate better, thereby exceeding the limitations of the workplace and solving the problems caused by business trips and commuting.

In fact, many companies are using Oculus and other virtual reality products to improve patient care, train staff, and create news content. One reason is that companies are often more affordable for virtual reality devices.

By redefining VR's vision, zuckerberg has made the Facebook world more like the GuGe world, and GuGe sees virtual reality as a universal tool for education, search and better life. But GuGe's vision sounds more technical, and Facebook is touting a world-changing ideal.

"Whenever someone says we create virtual reality because we are dissatisfied with the real world of our lives, my answer is: 'that's true. This is a good thing, and we believe that the future will be better and better. '" said zuckerberg.

How is Facebook's social VR going?

Meanwhile, Facebook's social VR has achieved some success. Earlier this year, with the launch of Facebook Spaces, the VR social platform, Facebook officially implemented the concept of VR networking. In Facebook Spaces, users can design their virtual image in VR with their own account avatar, choosing different hair styles, face shapes and features. After setting up your own virtual image, you can experience the wonderful functions of Facebook Spaces. In this virtual world, users can also watch video on the Facebook platform, or use a controller to match the Oculus Rift headset to grab virtual objects. They can also take selfies in different parts of the world, share information in virtual reality and so on.

At the Oculus Connect conference, Rachel Franklin, the head of Facebook's social VR, Shared how Facebook Spaces added new features to the platform, including:

(1) Live 360 video, which is used to create Live video content, allows you to walk the red carpet at the oscars with celebrities.

(2) VR painting tools let Spaces users draw with others in virtual reality.

(3) 3D posts, or creating objects in virtual reality, and displaying them in 3D objects on the Facebook stream.

New function of the Quill is one of the most notable features, because it can make people in the virtual world joint creation of art, not just as in the past only virtual reality world passively. Imagine, as people can be a piece of work in the virtual world, user participation in the virtual reality will be greatly improved, and not just hang out for a few minutes in the virtual world a PIC.

However, the social VR demonstrated on Oculus Connect shows that there is much more to be done. Because these virtual characters look too cheesy, the virtual space looks too cartoonish to stand out.

In October this year, zuckerberg and Rachel Franklin, wear the Oculus together in Rift, and use the Facebook's new virtual reality platform Facebook Spaces on virtual visit to encounter hurricane raging in Puerto Rico, and broadcast live on Facebook. He took the opportunity to discuss Facebook's efforts to help with disaster relief, such as donations and sharing data with the Red Cross. Perhaps because the cartoon image in VR does not show his serious intention, the publicity campaign immediately aroused huge controversy. Many netizens have criticized zuckerberg for using the tragedy of Puerto Rico to promote VR technology and Oculus Connect to build his "propaganda" on the pain of others.

In the face of public criticism, zuckerberg in the Facebook video comments expressed his apologies, said one of the power of the VR is empathy: "I was meant to show how VR will raise public awareness, let's take a look at the other corner of the world is happening. I also want to tell you that we are working with the Red Cross to help rebuild after the disaster. But after reading some of the comments, I realized that I didn't express myself clearly and apologized to all the people who were offended.

In addition, a Facebook user named Maria Mangiarelli Ripp said: "if we can see your real face is probably much more effective, it's really distracting to report the real situation in a virtual avatar." Zuckerberg replied: "I understand that. When you're in VR, you feel like everything around you is very real. But when people see your avatar on a 2-d screen, it's not very emotional. This is something we need to take time to solve.

This example is worth mentioning here, because first, he tries to do something more ambitious with VR, and secondly, he shows how difficult it is to realize his VR vision.

What happens next?

The corporate world is an important proving ground for Facebook and virtual reality. Simply applying VR to pain treatment in health care is a huge step forward in improving society and improving life. Maybe we won't see a billion people using virtual reality technology, and maybe virtual reality will never be the way zuckerberg wants it to be. But we're not just in the first year of Facebook's 10-year plan!

Even if virtual reality technology can't into our daily life, it will also gain a foothold in the workplace, not just on Facebook's own drive, and Facebook competitor on the popular virtual reality technology efforts.