Mark Zuckerberg Thinks AR/VR is a Solution to the Housing Crisis

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today laid out a range of topics on which he and his company will focus over the next decade. By 2030, he says, AR and VR telepresence could allow employees to work remotely from anywhere in the world, alleviating the affordable housing crisis of increasingly populated cities.

In a post on Facebook today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was taking a long-term outlook on the future, emphasizing what he believes will be important areas of focus over the next 10 years.

He reiterated his long held belief that AR and VR are the next major computing platform, and that their key capability is being able to make users feel physically present with people and places even across vast distances. That’s the crux of why his company acquired Oculus back in 2014 for some $2.4 billion.

“[…] at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology,” and when that happens, Zuckerberg said, the tech will be ripe for alleviating geographically-imposed inequality.

Augmented and virtual reality are about delivering a sense of presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person or in another place. Instead of having devices that take us away from the people around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.

The ability to be “present” anywhere will also help us address some of the biggest social issues of our day — like ballooning housing costs and inequality of opportunity by geography. Today, many people feel like they have to move to cities because that’s where the jobs are. But there isn’t enough housing in many cities, so housing costs are skyrocketing while quality of living is decreasing. Imagine if you could live anywhere you chose and access any job anywhere else. If we deliver on what we’re building, this should be much closer to reality by 2030.

Of course, there’s plenty of jobs which will simply never be able to be replaced by AR and VR telepresence, but a wide swath of today’s service-based economy could be a perfect fit.

Zuckerberg isn’t alone in his belief that AR and VR will radically alter the way that humans interact at a distance. Even today—well before the devices, platforms, apps are perfected—we’re already starting to see glimpses of the technology being used to transform work and entertainment.

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