Few single-provider services boast the massive numbers Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has managed to reach in its decade of existence. As of mid-2016, the social media juggernaut has 1.71 billion active users. Active, as in people who still log in and use the site from time to time, not just people with dormant profiles. How much money is the company now worth? $350 billion, landing it in the top six valued companies in the country. Zuckerberg himself is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $55 billion.
What does a person do with that kind of capital?
In Zuckerberg’s case, he invests it in a vision of a technological future which few others share. Of course, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google are counted among those with similar visions, so expect it to happen one of these days.
Okay, so he has a vision. And it’s only a matter of time before the vision is made a reality. Great. Then…
What’s the Zuckerberg vision, and should the general public be on board?
Well, part of Zuckerberg’s vision seems to be aimed at making certain technology available to everyone. For example, his Project Aquila aims to bring the internet to regions of the world that can’t afford it, don’t know what it is, or are simply too far out of reach. Okay, but that doesn’t make the guy a saint. After all, more people on the internet means more Facebook users, and that means more profit. Some people even believe that the company could one day be valued at a trillion dollars, and it’s not that far-fetched an idea.
So what else is there?
Well, he also wants to eradicate disease. Not just one or two, but all disease. More than that, it’s not just an unlikely hope for him. He actually thinks it’s possible to do by the end of the century; perhaps even a lot sooner.
Zuckerberg invests in people, not just technology
That’s all well and good, but how? Money can’t buy everything, and resources dry up. Well, Mark Zuckerberg also wants to revolutionize the way we educate our children. The program he hopes will one day sweep the nation is already poised to launch in many school systems around the country. It’s based on the concept that individuals should learn at their own pace instead of the system currently used which teaches everyone the same concepts together.
The idea makes a lot of sense. Think of it: why test children when the results of the tests don’t matter? Great, so we know which kids aren’t grasping which concepts, but why aren’t we doing anything to help them catch up before the rest of the class moves on? With the new system, that’s what we could do. It was once thought the implementation of such a system would be too difficult. The internet, though, has finally given us the resources to do it easily. It’s just a matter of inspiring our communities to transition to a new system.
The Oculus Rift gamble
Before that, though, Emperor Zuckerberg wants to connect us all. Not just through words on a computer screen, but instead through face-to-face interactions in a virtual, or perhaps augmented, space. Not long ago, Facebook purchased the Oculus Rift for $2 billion, a move that made a lot of people curious at the time.
Now we know better.
He believes one day traditional computers and other devices will be replaced with those that invite us into this digital realm, where we’ll be able to chat with one another, learn with one another, and play with one another anywhere we like. In Paris? Not a problem. On Mars? Sure, why not. With virtual reality, the possibilities are endless.
And so are the dreams and aspirations of Mark Zuckerberg. Isn’t it amazing that some of the biggest companies in the world have become instruments of massive change for the better, funneling so many resources into bettering our world through technology? It’s not what we might have imagined only a decade ago, but now who knows where we’ll end up another decade in the future. A very, very different place: that’s for sure.