Facebook's recent success has boiled down to seeing trends before they hit the big time and either creating or buying up something that embraces those trends. Such was the case with their Messenger app becoming a full-fledged platform, their gigantic push for mobile video and, most recently, their push into VR with Oculus, although that's still in the process of becoming as fruitful as previous ventures. According to the chart above, shown at their F8 developer conference, they're planning on integrating a lot of this into a fairly holistic, if not a bit Orwellian, experience.
Using social media has always centered around a delicate balance between the functionalities a user wants and how much personal data they're willing to give out. In order to strike this delicate balance, Facebook has embraced an approach where, for the most part, they allow users to control how much data they give out by which services and features they use and how they use them. The result is a comprehensive ecosystem built on user control, that leverages user data to generate revenue and enhance the experience to keep old users coming back and new users coming in on old users' recommendations. The services are generally attractive enough that a decent crop of users will be willing to input the kind of data it takes to participate in other Facebook services, such as trusting your personal communications to WhatsApp and its end-to-end encryption or trusting Messenger to handle your financial details in order to get you an Uber. Now boasting over 1.6 billion users worldwide, it's safe to say that this approach has worked well for Facebook.
It is through this network of seemingly innocent services integrating with one another to form a holistic user experience that Facebook plans to usher in a future where the user experience is all-permeating. As you can see in the chart, parts of that plan include drones, satellite, augmented and virtual reality, Facebook's own internet platform and A.I., among other solutions. A big part of that experience is planned to be virtual and augmented reality; one invention that Facebook currently has in the concept stage is a set of virtual reality glasses that resemble reading glasses and are intended for all-day, every-day wear. These would open the door for things like augmented reality interaction in storefronts, or seeing distant friends in your home as if they're standing in front of you.
Coupled with powerful A.I. to take and interpret commands, along with the Messenger platform and its ability to collect and use a wealth of user data for various purposes, it's not hard to imagine a future where an intense round of a VR game with friends from around the world is interrupted by you saying something like, "Let's stop, I'm hungry.", then having an A.I. system ask you some questions, think about your day and figure out what type of food you want, the best way to get it and whether your personal finances can afford to have it delivered to you. If all goes well at this point, you receive a notification a little bit later on, up in the corner of your vision, that there's a drone at your door holding a bag of takeout. This would all be made possible by information to and from Messenger, your glasses and a few backend systems that would include fitness metrics like your heart rate, the time and contents of your last meal and previous meals, how much water you've had throughout the day, your current activity levels and, gauged by the A.I. via physical signs and the content of your day and communications with others, how stressed you may be and how it would affect your health. Meanwhile, Messenger, if it has the right permissions from you, would look at your bank statement and bills to see if throwing down $10 for takeout would break you for the month.
If the above paragraph sounds a bit scary, that's only natural. For the most part, this is the direction that current technology is heading in. Powerful A.I.s with the ability to learn, perhaps even to feel, are on the horizon and are set to open up an entire new world of possibilities. Advances and innovations in how we interact with technology are rolling out daily. As security and encryption are stepped up and improved, more and more user data can be safely stored and used. If you can see the writing on the wall, it's not hard to see where we're heading, why we're heading there, what it will be like and if it will be worth it. In the end, the decision will be up to you, but Facebook's chart makes their place in that future quite clear.