A picture of Mark Zuckerberg smiling over 5,000 ‘users’ plugged into virtual reality headsets has made the rounds on social media, with many claiming that the Facebook billionaire wants to push the transhumanism agenda onto the public.
The photo (below) was taken at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, showing Zuckerberg walking past rows of devoted fans, all plugged into virtual reality headsets while he looks on.
The image has been compared to movies such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and a zombie apocalypse in which vegetative crowds are controlled by an elite group.
And it’s easy to see why. It shows more than 5,000 MWC attendees so immersed in the Samsung’s Gear VR headset that Zuckerberg can walk past them, unnoticed.
Others have likened the image it to ‘The Matrix’, which depicts a machine created dream world that humans believe is real.
But the reality is that humans are trapped in fields of pods dispensing electrical energy to power their machine masters.
Jonathan Wade likened it to Apple’s 1984-inspired Superbowl ad, which heralded the introduction of the Macintosh personal computer.
The ad opens with ambiguous subjects marching in unison toward a giant screen with a Big Brother-like figure, who speaks to a obeying crowd.
The Facebook boss has described headset-based technology ‘the next platform’, following on from traditional social media websites such as Facebook.
‘At Facebook we think about giving people richer tools,’ he said at MWC.
‘Going back 10 years most of what we shared was text, and then it was photos. And now we’re entering a world where that’s video.
‘But pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re right there in person.’
Facebook, which bought virtual reality firm Oculus for two billion US dollars in 2014, has since partnered with Samsung to create the Gear VR headset.
This can be bought for under $100 and works by slotting a Samsung Galaxy smartphone into it to use as a screen.
‘VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want,’ Zuckerberg added.
‘Right now, VR is mostly used for games and entertainment, but that’s quickly evolving, and one day you’re going to be able to put on a headset and that’s going to change the way that you live, work and communicate.
‘So imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with your friends any time that you want, or watch a movie in a private theatre with your friends any time you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere that you want.
‘All these things are going to be possible, and that’s why Facebook is investing so much early on in virtual reality, so we can help to deliver these kind of social experiences.’
During the press conference, Samsung unveiled its two new smartphones – the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge – using virtual reality, giving each attendee a Gear VR through which the new phones appeared in front of them for the first time.
Zuckerberg also explained that while his parents logged him taking his first steps as a child by writing it in a baby book, and his siblings have used photos and video, he wants to capture his daughter’s using 360 video, which can then be viewed in virtual reality.
‘I want to capture the whole scene, so I hope that we can take a 360 video; that way, even if my parents and family aren’t there to experience it in person, they can feel like they’re right there with us,’ he said.
‘VR is going to be the most social platform.’
Fellow technology giants HTC and Sony are also planning to release virtual reality products this year – the Vive and PlayStation VR respectively. LG announced its own headset on Sunday.