Menu
Zuckerberg wants to be the Stephen Hawking of social relations

Zuckerberg wants to be the Stephen Hawking of social relations

What makes humans social? Facebook's CEO wants to know.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, pictured Dec. 11, 2014, speaking during a public Q&A at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, pictured Dec. 11, 2014, speaking during a public Q&A at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Facebook uses an algorithm for its News Feed, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg is after something much bigger: One that governs all human relationships.

"I'm most interested in questions about people," the Facebook chief said Tuesday. "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," he said. "I bet there is."

Zuckerberg shared his quest with famed physicist Stephen Hawking during an online Q&A. Hawking had asked Zuckerberg what big questions in science he wanted the answers to.

In addition to a social law, Zuckerberg said he was interested in how the brain works, how learning works, and how humans can be empowered to learn "a million times more."

When it comes to learning, the Q&A helped to explain Facebook's growing interest in AI, or artificial intelligence. Earlier this month, Facebook opened a research center in Paris to advance efforts begun a little over a year ago in AI-based image recognition, natural language processing and speech recognition applications. Researchers in Paris will work with teams in Menlo Park, California, and New York on various projects.

Those efforts are partly aimed at understanding the meaning of what people share and post on Facebook, Zuckerberg said Tuesday. Divining that meaning could improve the relevance of posts in people's News Feeds. Also, being able to build computers that could understand what's in an image and describe it to a blind person "would be pretty amazing," Zuckerberg said.

The company is building systems that can recognize everything in an image or video, including people, objects and scenes, he said.

Meanwhile, for listening and language in AI, Facebook is focusing on converting speech to text and translating text between languages, and answering people's natural-language queries, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook recently released a separate app that uses technology based in part on work done by its AI research team, called Moments. The app lets users share photos privately and uses facial recognition to organize photos based on who is in them.

Read more: When the IoT meets your IT department…

Zuckerberg also outlined his vision for the future of communication, one in which people wear devices that augment reality and allow them to send "full, rich thoughts" to each other just by thinking of something. This would be a communication technology coming after new immersive experiences developed through virtual reality, he said.

VR will be a big step on the way, Zuckerberg said. It will become the next normal form of content after texts, photos and videos, Zuckerberg said. Facebook bought VR headset maker Oculus VR last year for $2 billion.

The Q&A wasn't all about techy, futuristic stuff. Arnold Schwarzenegger participated, asking Zuckerberg about his workout habits. Zuckerberg said he works out at least three times a week, usually first thing in the morning.

"Staying in shape is very important," the 31-year-old CEO said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags analyticsInternet-based applications and servicessocial networkingsocial mediainternetsearch enginesFacebook

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments