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Facebook reveals their ten year plan, and it’s a doozie

(TECH NEWS) Facebook’s 10-year plan is an exciting peek behind the curtain of new technology, and though they have a long way to go, they are already changing the way we experience the world.

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Twelve in, ten out

By now we should probably have realized that Facebook is not just a fun platform to keep track of old high school friends who we don’t care enough about to actually keep in touch with. Sure, that’s one of its many useful functions, but this data grubbing, tech influencing, marketing machine has much bigger goals in mind.

“Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” Facebook touts on none other than their own Facebook page. That 12-year-old mission statement is not just a pipe dream anymore. At their annual F8 conference in April, Facebook announced their 10-year-plan to change tech in our world.

In 10 years Facebook would like to achieve real results in worldwide connectivity, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

These are all ongoing projects for Facebook, and they’ve made strides in each of these categories. Let’s take a look at where they are now, and where they hope to be in 10 years.

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Connectivity

In June of this year, Facebook successfully tested it’s unmanned solar powered internet aircraft, Acquila, in the middle of the Arizona desert.

The Acquila project will bring internet to four billion people without internet access in places where it’s too costly or remote to lay fiberoptic cables. The first ninety-six minute flight taught Facebook a lot about the aircraft and its technology, but they still have a long way to go.

Where we are now: Acquila still requires a ground crew to manage its vitals, though it can take off and land by itself. It uses the power of three hair dryers (powered by solar panels on its huge wings) to fly around above clouds and weather. Acquila weighs less than 1000 pounds, and they’re hoping to shave that down in future models.

The 10-Year Goal: Acquila will be fully self-sufficient, lighter, and more efficient. It will fly in fleets 60,000 feet above remote areas beaming internet to users on the ground. They will communicate with high powered lasers and land only for routine or necessary maintenance.

AI Technology

In October of this year, Facebook joined four other world technology leaders in an AI development partnership. Google, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have committed to join forces to advance AI technology, inform best practices, and provide a platform for conversation and research.

Where we are now: Facebook has made significant strides in AI technology by creating smart chatbots, furthering AI facial recognition, and developing technology that determines what Facebook users want to see the most on their news feeds. They just discovered this year that AI can actually solve simple word problems, something that’s never been done before.

The 10-Year Goal: AI will be able to understand complex language and interpret video content, helping everyone experience the world more deeply and engage more completely.

Virtual Reality

No one is really sure what the future of virtual reality holds, but Facebook is willing to gamble on the immersive tech. They bought VR company Oculus Rift in 2014, and they have big plans.

Where we are now: Few people have access to Oculus rifts. And they are mostly used for gaming, though there have been a few private ventures to create content for VR experiences – like “Clouds Over Sidra,” a VR documentary about a Syrian refugee camp.

The 10-Year Goal: In the future, Facebook hopes to develop technology that transports you to other worlds when you put on the big black glasses. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home,” Zuckerberg wrote when he first announced the purchase of the VR company.

Here’s to the future

The future is a wild and crazy place full of solar powered planes, robots, and virtual transportation. Facebook is betting on tech to both expand our world and shrink our vast distances between one another. They want to deepen the ways we connect to each other in a meaningful way, and they’re betting that we want to stay connected to the people and world that we love too.

Facebook’s 10-year plan is an exciting peek behind the curtain of new technology, and though they have a long way to go, they are already changing the way we experience the world.

#FB10Year

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Real Estate Technology

Camera that spins, zooms on its own – perfect for remote working

(TECHNOLOGY) Video conferencing tool, Meeting Owl Pro, helps bridge the communication gap in remote teams with a camera that spins and zooms on who is speaking

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As someone who has spent the bulk of their career in a remote setting, I’ve definitely noticed some elements of communication that differ from an on-site job. Rather than being able to pop into your boss or coworker’s offices, you have to shoot them an email or try and catch them on their phone.

Enter the COVID-19 times…

Remote work can get even more complicated when the whole team is remote and you’re attempting to get everyone on the same page. Or, think about when you’re working remote and you have to video conference into a meeting with people who are on site. Even with video conference chatting, there can still be some kinks in trying to follow the voices and stay on top of who’s speaking.

Luckily, Owl Labs took this issue into consideration and whipped up Meeting Owl Pro and Meeting Owl First-Gen, which are the only 360° camera, mic, speaker smart devices on the market today. This is ideal for teams who have both an on-site and remote team collaborating together (or will again soon).

The Owl sits in the middle of the on-site table and moves in a complete 360° manner that picks up who is speaking and moves the camera to focus on them. That way, the people who are calling in remotely can clearly see who is speaking and follow the meeting as if they’re actually in the room.

Both versions of Meeting Owl are compatible with the big video conferencing platforms, such as: Zoom, Google, Skype, etc. They operate as plug and play devices that connect to Wi-Fi, which allows for automatic updates.

According to the tech team, the specifications of the Meeting Owl Pro 360° smart camera has an enhanced Owl Intelligence System™, 2X sharper camera with 1080p resolution and 2X louder 360° in-room speaker. With the Meeting Owl Pro, customers can expect their meeting spaces to become increasingly intelligent over time with new smart integrations and capabilities, the first of those features being a new Smart Zooming functionality that identifies, locates, and magnifies the person speaking.

This will help to bridge common communication barriers that are felt between on-site collaboration with remote teams. Additionally, it will help with team-building as everyone will have more of an opportunity to spend face-to-face time with their coworkers who work remote from them.

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Real Estate Technology

AI being used to better understand the COVID-19 pandemic

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) The intersection of the coronavirus and AI is here and it’s trying to making the world a better place. AI can read and collect data faster than humans.

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AI and the coronavirus

As the world scrambles to figure out the best way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and halt the ongoing pandemic, researchers are searching for a cure. In order to do so, it is beneficial to track patterns in the virus’s behavior.

Since the virus’s initial spread in December, thousands of papers have been written about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. It would take weeks, if not months, for a person to collate all that information into some valuable data. This is where AI comes in to help.

Earlier this week the White House announced that they were working in collaboration with tech companies and members of academia to provide the huge amount of Coronavirus research to AI researchers and their algorithms.

The AI will be able to comb through all of the research we have to-date and search for patterns that could help those in the research field to find a cure and those in the medical field to better treat their patients. According to Wired, companies and institutions such as the National Library of Medicine, Microsoft Research, and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2) are currently working to gather and prepare the nearly 30,000 papers related to the virus so they can be processed by AI.

Hopefully, the AI’s algorithms are able to see something we cannot. It could find new connections that researchers have not been able to make and speed up the process.

The CEO of AI2, Oren Etzioni, is hopeful that this project will show people the brighter side of AI. “High tech, in general, has gotten a bad rap, but something like this crisis shows how AI can potentially do a world of good.”

There is no question that AI can help us find some answers as we face this pandemic. Whether or not this can all be arranged quickly enough to actually help mitigate the current crisis is the question. Some are wondering if U.S. resources would be put to better use by helping to address the shortage of Coronavirus test kits.

Experts are imploring people to think of the big picture. The issue of open access to medical and scientific research has been a topic of conversation among researchers for years. The pandemic has only highlighted the need. Now governments across the globe are calling on scientific publishers to open access for research on the Coronavirus so we can all work together in this time of global crisis.

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Real Estate Technology

How telecom, power companies are helping customers during COVID-19 outbreak

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Telecom and power companies have also tried to help their customers, while the Coronavirus makes its rounds, by extending service.

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According to Fox News, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, promised to take care of the employees at the American Airline Center during the NBA shutdown. The employees would be paid as if the games were still taking place. Many of the other leagues have made the same promise. Unfortunately, not every employee works for a business with those types of provisions.

Thankfully, many organizations are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with special accommodations to help residential and commercial customers deal with financial issues and staying home to prevent the spread of the virus.

Companies helping out customers

Comcast is offering 60 days of free basic internet service to new customers. It’s also not disconnecting or charging late fees. Current customers are also being provided with unlimited data. AT&T is offering the same types of things for its users, unlimited data and suspending terminations, as is T-Mobile.

Closer to home, the City of Austin has decided not to disconnect customers’ services for non-payment. Evictions are also halted. Austin Energy is reconnecting users who were recently disconnected for non-payment. The company is working with customers to help them get on track with their electric bills.

Customers without power do need to reach out to Austin Energy for a courtesy reconnect, because the bill cannot be restarted without speaking to the customer. The Public Utility Commission has asked all Texas power companies to work with customers during these uncertain times. TXU Energy has also waived late fees and is extending payment due dates.

Contact your utility providers

If your finances are being affected due to COVID-19, talk to your landlord and other providers now to work out a plan going forward. You’ll have less stress when you know you won’t lose your power, water or home. Companies are willing to work with families who have been impacted by the pandemic.

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