NEW DELHI: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a townhall meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi today where around 900 students got a chance to interact with him in a question and answer session. The richest CEO under the age of 35 was super candid with the excited students. Wearing a casual round neck T-shirt, mic in hand and a bare stage to take alone, he is every bit of an icon the world believes he is.
Here are some highlights of his speech:
- Question: Although we are 130M users, how do you connect people who are not on FB or don’t have internet access?
- Mark Zuckerberg: The first thing I say is that we can look at the efforts we have had with Internet.org. It is live in 24 countries in the world and growing. There are 15M people in the world who have access to Internet because of efforts of Internet.org. I have seen some cynical reporting saying it isn’t working as good. But if that isn’t good I’d like to know what you think is.
So this is a program that is working around the world. So we are doing things to break all these barriers. We are investing in new ways to bring connectivity. For affordability, we are very focused that our apps use less data. Today Facebook uses 1/10th the data than it used to. We are investing in new ways to bring connectivity. For affordability, we are very focused that our apps use less data. Today Facebook uses 1/10th the data than it used to. For awareness, we are including education, health, job, Wikipedia, news in Internet.org. People who tried free basics admit how good it is.
- Question: How can we stop getting invitations on Candy Crush?
Mark Zuckerberg: This is why such townhalls are so useful.
This was one of the top voted questions on our thread. I told my developers that can we have a solution to this problem by the time I do my Q/A. So we are doing it now.
- Question: My Question is about Oculus Rift. Wanted to ask how are you plugging that to social media? And how are you opening it for developers?
Mark Zuckerberg: There are dev (short for “developer”) kits available for Oculus. In terms of how it fits into our overall vision, we see our mediums on the Internet getting richer and richer. Earlier it was text. Today it is photos and videos. Tomorrow it’ll be richer videos. But I don’t think video is the end of the line. Video is still small screen, still 2D. That’s what virtual reality and augmented reality can do.
My wife and I are expected a daughter. People take photos and videos of their baby take first steps. I want my family to be there, to capture that experience for my parents, friends.
- Question: Facebook has been investing a lot in AI. What are the future products we can expect?
Mark Zuckerberg: AI (Artificial Intelligence) is really exciting. Soon we’ll be able to build much smarter computers. With AI, its going to be less about products and making the existing ones smarter. We are working on a project where AI can describe photos to blind people.
Second example, right now the best way to let people know you are safe in terms of a crisis is by yourself or through your friends.In the future maybe satellites and other technologies can help with this.
- Question: How Facebook can help poor and uneducated people?
- Mark Zuckerberg: So this is a really interesting area. I sometimes wonder about the impact I can have outside Facebook. I’ve been learning about the education system.The other area is health and science.
The US govt spends on 50 times more money on curing people than preventing diseases. This shows a really big opportunity. I don’t know if all diseases can be fixed in our lifetimes but maybe in the future.
- Question: Hi Mark, this is Funny. My question is, if Mark is gifted supernatural powers from aliens what would he wish for?
Mark Zuckerberg: That’s a good question. What we are working with Oculus is that we are allowing people to teleport. People can be in completely different place but teleport and come together for an experience. Soon, you’ll be able to put on a headset and go anywhere in the world and that’ll be – pretty good.
- Question: Internet.Org is a great initiative but there have been many questions about net neutrality. I want to ask does Internet.org support net neutrality fully?
Mark Zuckerberg: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been working with authorities on regulation. This debate is there because countries are right now figuring out what net neutrality needs to be.
Internet is expensive for carriers. What we are trying to do is offer low-bandwidth services. It’ll be a neutral platform and we won’t be a filter. What the regulation is trying to prohibit is carriers charging more for certain services. That is bad.
Some proponents of net neutrality say there should be no free access. But I say if a student who doesn’t have access to internet is given free access to do her homework, who is getting hurt there? The US regulations are very strong about this.
There needs to be a differentiation between filtering and allowing free access to basics. I’ll leave you a thought, that people who are pushing with the petitions already have access to the internet and people who don’t have internet can’t sign an online petition asking for access. Don’t get twisted into hurting people who don’t have a voice.
It wasn’t long ago that I was sitting in the audience and listening to Bill Gates at Harvard. The trick is that the media likes to sensationalise a eureka moment and you build something on your own.
I built the first version of Facebook because I wanted to connect to people in my school. Back then it didn’t even occur to me that one day the entire world would be using it. We just kept doing the next thing and people kept saying this is just a fad. The skills you are getting here (in college) are what you will need to build your thing. You just have to keep doing and not let people get in the way.
- Question: Considering the startup buzz everywhere, what is an ideal startup?
Mark Zuckerberg: I have seen some people who are trying to start a company without figuring out what they want to do. All great companies started with people who cared about something.
None of the people who built big companies thought that they would be as big as they ended up being. So my advice is focus on what you care about and not the decision to start a company.
(Info Source: NDTV interview)