Mark Zuckerberg wants you to be wowed.
At Thursday’s Facebook Connect presentation, the CEO unveiled virtual and augmented reality technology that seems designed to change a world already struggling with Facebook’s effects on it. The small, often unmentioned speed bump in the way of this lofty dream? Much of the showcased tech is years, if not decades away — and may never exist at all.
The vaporware of Facebook Connect, along with the multiple cringe-inducing attempts to wink at the audience and a performative name change to “Meta,” served as a big “look over there!” to a world transfixed by the Facebook Papers.
“Imagine if you could be at the office without the commute,” offered up Zuckerberg, accompanied by a series of clearly computer generated images of a man waving to his digital coworkers that bear no resemblance to Facebook’s more rudimentary current offerings. “You would still have that sense of presence, shared physical space, those chance interactions that make your day, all accessible from anywhere.”
Without a doubt, the dream promised Thursday by Zuckerberg and Facebook Reality Labs VP Andrew Bosworth is glossy and exciting — assuming one doesn’t stop to think too much about it. However, the idea that we’ll all primarily live, work, and play in a digital virtual or augmented reality space mediated by a company like Facebook is not one to celebrate.