MANILA, Philippines - What would you ask Facebook's CEO?
On Wednesday, June 15, people got the chance to send their questions over to one of the most powerful men on social media. In his first Facebook Live Q&A session, Mark Zuckerberg traversed a lot of topics when he took on queries from his viewers.
Zuckerberg started the Q&A session by addressing the recent mass shooting in Orlando, "one of the things that I'm so proud of that our community does is, whenever there's a tragedy around the world, we always find a way to come together."
He went on to detail the other successful efforts of the Facebook community during times of disaster like the earthquake in Nepal "where our community raised a record-breaking amount of money to support the people who were victims there."
Later in the Q&A session, comedian Jerry Seinfeld joined him in front of the camera to answer more questions.
Not all the questions, however, were picked up on from the live comment section as he had previously released a post asking his page's followers to send in questions a week ahead.
Here are our picks for the best questions and answers from the hour long "conversation" between Zuckerberg and the people:
Technology and terrorism
Question: How can technology add to global optimism in a world that is affected by terrorism, the refugee crisis, geopolitical and economic tensions and how can we encourage human beings to live happy, productive and stable lives?
"Our mission is to make the world more open," he continues. "I think now we need to come together as a global community because a lot of the problems that you’re talking about like terrorism or the refugee crisis or climate change or global diseases that are going around the world. These are not things that can be solved by any one city, or one nation or any one small group of people. They inherently affect everyone around the world."
"So what I think we should be doing as a technology industry and community, is trying to build this technology so, just like any other point in history, people can come together and level up humanity to get to the next level and start to see ourselves less as just nations of people and more as a global community of everyone living together and trying to take on these problems."
Zuckerberg also addresses the lack of connectivity in some parts of the world, an issue Facebook has been working to address with projects like Internet.org, "Today, more than half of the world is not on the Internet and i think spreading infrastructure, like the Internet, spreading education around the world, spreading health care and all the thing we know through modern science to open up all the opportunities of the world to everyone is one of the big things that we need to accomplish as a global community in this century."
Question: What about artificial intelligence would be the next impact of Facebook on the world? Because there are millions of people around the globe who [are] physically challenged, for example: blind, and they can’t access the internet.
Zuckerberg responded with, "You know AI is one of the aspects of technology that I’m the most excited about for Facebook... I did this live about a month ago with one of our engineers here. He’s a blind engineer and he’s working on this AI technology for Facebook to make it so that Facebook can look at a photo and can see it what’s in it and if you’re blind and you can’t see your news feed it can actually read out loud to you what is in the photo."
Facebook has recently been testing technology that can help differently abled people to experience the internet, such as blind people experiencing photos.
"You can imagine very similar things can also be possible with audio to people who can't hear. So for example, we were working on AI technology that can, for people who are deaf, that can look into videos like this one that you’re playing and can just add subtitles to them automatically and that can understand what’s going on."
"Some of these stuff is just really exciting when it comes to opening up the world to everyone so that everyone can participate in these opportunities," Zuckerberg finishes.
Virtual reality and beyond
Question: How is Facebook gonna transform itself to keep up with new ideas in technology and ways to communicate? I know that virtual reality is an interesting start but what’s beyond that?
In 2014, Facebook acquired rising virtual reality company Oculus VR and funded their development of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset.
Zuckerberg answered, "just like what I said, you go from text to photos to videos and that’s not the end of the line. There’s gonna be something like VR that’s gonna help us share what’s going on it’s a whole scene around us. I actually don’t think that VR and AI are not the end of the line either. There’s always something that goes beyond that."
"I do think that, in the future, we will have the ability to just capture sort of raw emotions or thoughts that we have and if when you want and how you want – and of course it’s really important that people to have the power to do these the way that they want – be able to share it with other people."
Obstacles and Advice
Question: Who’s been your biggest adviser since the start of the company and what obstacles have you faced along the journey to where you are now?
Zuckerberg gives due credit to his team with his answer. He said, "What I’ve always found to be true is there are lots of smart people you can get advice from, but the people who I have learned the most from are not some people I just talk to every few months, or advisers or mentors to me, although I really value those relationships too. But the people I work with everyday."
Facebook's CEO has never been shy about showing the online world behind the scenes glimpses into Facebook. He has done a few videos where he goes around showing the internet the Facebook offices and its hardworking people.
He gives some advice to everyone staring out, "So I actually think that, if you wanna think about how to build something great, or even if you’re not trying to be an entrepreneur but really anything you do, I think you should ask yourself this question of ‘how much am I learning from the people around me, who I’m working with’ because most of your learning is gonna come from them."
"It’s not gonna come from some mentor that you have somewhere else, even if that’s a cool opportunity for you. It’s the people you surround yourself with on a day-to-day basis who are really going to determine a lot of what you learn, the perspective you’re going to end up seeing, and that can be an intentional choice that you make."
Starting Over Again
Question: If you had to start over again, as a teenager, what would you like to take up as your startup?
Zuckerberg looks back as he responds, "the way I think about building a company is it’s all about ‘what changed do you wanna make on the world?’ You know, I started Facebook not as a company but because I wanted to help connect people in my college and I wanted to give people the power to share what was going on with them in their lives, and that’s what I care about."
He talks about how the internet users have shifted from desktop to mobile and how this should be taken into consideration for new start-ups. "If I had to start over today, I think Facebook would look different. You know, when I started it, I wouldn’t start it as a website today. I think you would start whatever you’re building as a mobile app. Today, more than a billion people use Facebook on their mobile phones and you know, that’s the more important way people are accessing the internet and communicating with each other today so that would be different."
In answer to the question, he says, "if I had to start over, if you just dropped me in the middle of a dessert somewhere, or the middle of a jungle, I would probably first try to figure out my way out and then I would start working on connecting people around the world because that is what I care about and I don’t know exactly what the right strategy would be to get started today."
We'll end this with some of Zuckerberg's wise words:
"Don’t think about it as building a company. That’s such a big mistake that people make. They decide they wanted to build a company rather than thinking about what change they wanna make in the world. Once you know what change you wanna make in the world, all of the tactics and strategy for how you do that will just fit in that change."