All is revealed in Mark Zuckerberg’s unconventional Q&A.
This week marked Mashable’s 5th Annual Social Media Day, a veritable playground of digital and IRL events around the world geared toward the social-savvy set. While the future of the digital realm was being predicted, dissected and celebrated, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chose the conference as an optimal time to shake up the traditional model of the platform’s Townhall Q&A session.
Usually conducted with a live audience, Zuckerberg instead opted to hold the roundtable virtually (from his own Facebook page, no less) in an attempt to break technological barriers and increase participant accessibility. And boy, the ‘Book did not disappoint. Users flocked to the feed, vying for the chance to catch a reply from Zuck.
Some of the most interesting questions came from recognizable names like Stephen Hawking, Ariana Huffington, and Arnold Schwarzenegger on topics ranging from—you guessed it—science, publishing and working out, respectively. All that was missing was The Donald prodding about controversial business models, but we’re guessing he had a hard enough week.
While the publicity stunt was a well-planned one, to Zuck’s credit he answered the questions (inane and otherwise) from all participants with impressive aplomb. Here are a few tasty tidbits he threw our way that shed some light on the future of Facebook, as well as his core values.
Facebook Fan: In 10 years time what's your view on the world where do you think we all will be from a technology perspective and social media?
Mark Zuckerberg: In 10 years, I hope we've improved a lot of how the world connects. We're doing a few big things.
First, we're working on spreading Internet access around the world through Internet.org. This is the most basic tool people need to get the benefits of the Internet—jobs, education, communication, etc. Today, almost 2/3 of the world has no Internet access. In the next 10 years, Internet.org has the potential to help connect hundreds of millions or billions of people who do not have access to the Internet today.
As a side point, research has found that for every 10 people who gain access to the Internet, about one person is raised out of poverty. So if we can connect the 4 billion people in the world who are unconnected, we can potentially raise 400 million people out of poverty. That's perhaps one of the greatest things we can do in the world.
Second, we're working on AI because we think more intelligent services will be much more useful for you to use. For example, if we had computers that could understand the meaning of the posts in News Feed and show you more things you're interested in, that would be pretty amazing. Similarly, if we could build computers that could understand what's in an image and could tell a blind person who otherwise couldn't see that image, that would be pretty amazing as well. This is all within our reach and I hope we can deliver it in the next 10 years.
Third, we're working on VR because I think it's the next major computing and communication platform after phones. In the future we'll probably still carry phones in our pockets, but I think we'll also have glasses on our faces that can help us out throughout the day and give us the ability to share our experiences with those we love in completely immersive and new ways that aren't possible today. Those are just three of the things we're working on for the next 10 years. I'm pretty excited about the future
Stephen Hawking: I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?
Mark Zuckerberg: That's a pretty good one! I'm 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 we can empower humans to learn 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. I bet there is.
Facebook Fan: Why did you choose to set your salary at $1?
Mark Zuckerberg: I've made enough money. At this point, I'm just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have. The main way I can help is through Facebook -- giving people the power to share and connecting the world. I'm also focusing on my education and health philanthropy work outside of Facebook as well. Too many people die unnecessarily and don't get the opportunities they deserve. There are lots of things in the world that need to get fixed and I'm just lucky to have the chance to work on fixing some of them.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Mark, I always tell people that nobody is too busy to exercise, especially if Popes and Presidents find time. You've got to be one of the busiest guys on the planet, and younger generations can probably relate to you more than they can the Pope - so tell me how you find time to train and what is your regimen like? And by the way - will the machines win?
Mark Zuckerberg: Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you're fit. I make sure I work out at least three times a week -- usually first thing when I wake up. I also try to take my dog running whenever I can, which has the added bonus of being hilarious because that basically like seeing a mop run. And no, the machines don't win
Facebook Fan: Hey Mark! Greetings from Scotland! I would love to ask an intelligent, thought provoking question but alas have none! My 10 year old however wants to ask you what you would take to a desert island with you if you could only take three things (fyi there is no WiFi there so no FB). Thank you!
Mark Zuckerberg: That depends. Have we successfully delivered satellite connectivity through Internet.org yet? Because we're working on this, and in the not too distant future, I'm pretty sure there will in fact be wifi on that island. In that case, I'll bring my wife, my dog and my phone. Otherwise, I guess I'd just bring my wife, my dog and a book