The Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke of a science fiction-esque future where workers would ‘teleport’ into offices using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Facebook acquired Oculus VR – one of the most recognisable brands in the market – in 2014 for $2.4 billion. ‘One of the things that [VR] will unlock is the ability to live anywhere you want and be present in another place and really feel like you are there,’ the Facebook CEO told the assembled listeners on Clubhouse.
In an interaction on the increasingly popular Clubhouse app last week, Zuckerberg said that the company was developing Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to help people move around virtually instead of using transportation. “It is going to unlock a lot of economic opportunity because people will be able to live where they want and increasingly work where they want and kind of teleport into place,” Zuckerberg said. Pandemic lockdowns have shown that it is not necessary to tie employees to physical locations and offices, since AR and VR technologies make it possible to “live anywhere and be ‘present’ wherever you want,” was what Zuckerberg said. Whether or not virtual reality could bridge the gap remains to be seen but Zuckerberg is aggressively pursing it at Facebook. The social media giant says it plans to allow 50 per cent of its 58,000+ employees to work remotely using VR by the end of the decade.
To adapt to this new reality, virtual and augmented reality professionals at Facebook Reality Labs are currently focusing on integrating these technologies into telecommuting in order to provide presence without physical displacement.