With Facebook filling up our lives every day, the session on the Two I’s of Facebook—Innovation and India, was an apt start to day 2 of the conclave.
Ash Jhaveri, Vice President, Business Development at Facebook spoke about the future - how artificial intelligence is changing the way we function, how virtual reality is the ‘ultimate empathy machine’ because it connects people who have never met, and Facebook’s India-specific innovations. “At Facebook, we are connecting people, connecting the world,” he says. US-born Jhaveri recounted how lonely he felt when he moved back to the US with his parents after a brief stint in India where he was surrounded by cousins and family. “My parents would wait for the airmail envelope to hear about their relatives here. But we missed the small mundane things that actually keep people together,” he said. Today, however, everyone is connected.
Artificial intelligence, he said, is about how well computers can learn when fed with repeated inputs from the outside world. “The greater the data you feed it with, the smarter it gets,” he says. The AI has a socially-beneficial angle too. Jhaveri recounted how AI helped during the Puerto Rico hurricane. “A woman from Chicago put up a Facebook post asking what people needed. Instantly, people from different parts started telling her what they wanted. Before she could land, she knew what had to be sent where. The maps were being updated real time,” he said.
For India, Facebook has special innovations going. The teams work on 2G network to be able to develop features that work seamlessly on a low-speed network. Similarly, noticing that only 55 per cent of women users in India put up profile pictures for fear of those being misused, Facebook devised a photo protection feature by which the photograph cannot be downloaded or defaced. “A profile picture indicates how you engage with the community,” he said.
The smartphone will not be replaced anytime soon because the hand held devices offers connectivity and mobility.
Television will also not disappear anytime soon, the way you consume content may change but the human need for creative, well-curated content will remain. It is a communal feeling when you sit with the family to watch.
The culture at Facebook helps engineers match passion with skills. After the bootcamp training programme, managers pitch their projects to the new people who have joined and they can then choose which project to work on.
With virtual reality (VR), we could trace Syrian refugees or expose what happens to prisoners in the California Penal System on what happened after they were released.