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Zuckerberg expecting AR to make it big

The boss of Facebook has outlined some of the changes he sees coming in the 2020s and has put AR up there as the platform for the future

The Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Vegas this week has included lots of talk about VR and AR and its prospects in this decade and Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has added his voice to those predicting changes ahead.

The boss of the social media platform has chosen to look ahead to what will be coming in the next ten years and in his selected comments the prospect of AR delivering dramatic change is on the shortlist.

"The technology platform of the 2010s was the mobile phone. The platform of the 2000s before that was about the web, and the 1990s was the desktop computer. Each computing platform becomes more ubiquitously accessible and natural for us to interact with. While I expect phones to still be our primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology," he said.

Distributors that watched with bemusement the attempt by Google to roll out glasses as a platform a couple of years ago before conceding the time was not right for the product probably won't be rushing to set up AR divisions. But Zuckerberg is convinced that the benefits of the technology will make it more attractive in the next few years.

"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," he said.

"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," he added.

His other predictions touch on some of the issues that Facebook has had to deal with in the last decade and the question of governance.

"As long as our governments are seen as legitimate, rules established through a democratic process could add more legitimacy and trust than rules defined by companies alone. There are a number of areas where I believe governments establishing clearer rules would be helpful, including around elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability. I've called for new regulation in these areas and over the next decade I hope we get clearer rules for the internet," he said.

He also touched on the generational change and called for more efforts to be made to empower younger people and give them a voice to amplify issues around climate change, education and the cost of housing.

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