Facebook has unveiled its 10 year plan to become more than just a social network, which includes developing social uses for artificial intelligence and virtual reality, as well as launching satellites and drones that can beam internet to earth.
As part of its mission to “connect the world”, the social media giant is working on a standalone VR headset and an AI picture-editing tool that will let users add “intelligent” filters to videos as they film.
Its plan also includes bringing internet access to an extra 4 billion people around the world using its solar-powered, unmanned Aquila drone and a satellite that can beam high-speed internet to far-flung regions.
The “most important problems we’re trying to solve for the future” are bolstering internet access, building “truly intelligent machines” and creating VR for “that lets us experience anything with anyone at any time”, he said.
Schroepfer highlighted progress Facebook has made over the past year, including the Aquila drone’s first flight, and the creation of an app that can add stylised filters to videos as they’re filmed using AI. More recently, Facebook’s AI achieved a breakthrough at the end of last week when it achieved 100 per cent on a picture recognition test written last year.
“But by human standards we’re still a way off intelligence,” Schroepfer admitted. “Our existing AI systems are pretty darn basic.”
Schroepfer said Facebook is also building a standalone VR headset that doesn’t require a mobile phone or computer to power it.
“It has everything needed to work VR,” he said. “It’s this technology that we think will eventually bring VR to the masses.”
The Facebook executive acknowledged the company has had some setbacks, including the loss of a satellite when Space X’s unmanned rocket exploded on the launch pad back in September.
“You don’t make big bets without big failures,” said Schroepfer. “That’s a bummer that’s going to set back our work in space for a little bit.”