Zuckerberg thinks AI will eventually be able to diagnose diseases based on photos you upload. But today, AI is coming to Facebook Messenger. Facebook launched Messenger Platform so developers can build AI-powered chatbots that you can converse with when you need information. It’s particularly useful when you want to avoid dealing with businesses on the phone. Companies will use Messenger in different ways. CNN can send you news headlines and you can send a message to read the full story, get a summary of the story, or ask CNN questions about it. If you want to send a bouquet, 1–800-Flowers is using Messenger to show you floral arrangements and let you place an order without having to actually call 1–800-Flowers. The future is now.
Connecting the world
Every time Zuckerberg speaks in public, he talks about Facebook’s mission of connecting the world. That mission includes Aquila, the solar-powered Internet delivery plane. It also includes a satellite the company is launching in space to connect sub-Saharan Africa. Facebook also has plans to improve connectivity on the ground in rural and urban areas with two systems it will dive into tomorrow, Aries and Terragraph.
The company is still committed to its Free Basic program, which has run into opposition in countries like India, where the program was banned for running afoul of net neutrality tenets. Facebook just launched a Free Basics simulator so developers can build apps that will help people access the Internet in areas with spotty connectivity or none at all. The company is also building open-sourced infrastructure for telephone companies.
“The idea is if we can make it cheaper for telcos to operature their mobile infrastructure, then some of those savings will be passed on to people in the form of lower data prices,” Zuckerberg said.
Big ideas take time
If F8 is any indication, Facebook has grand ambitions. Some of Zuckerberg’s big plans, like the VR/AR glasses, require the company to scale products like Rift to a large audience before creating an ecosystem around them.
But unlike many companies, Facebook actually has products with more than 500 million users. Facebook itself has more than a billion users. It has reached scale many times over. Its plans for the next decade don’t seem so crazy.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.