Ignoring the fact that most of us already spend the better part of our days with our eyes glued to our phone, typing in questions like, “Who was the guy in that thing?” “What song is this?” and “Why do my eyes bleed when I try to go to sleep every night?”, Facebook mastermind Mark Zuckerberg envisions a world in which we spend even more time looking at things via our smartphones and other connected devices. Zuckerberg outlined his blurry vision while giving the keynote address at this year’s F8, the company’s annual developers conference. (And for those of you racing to make some pithy Fate Of The Furious joke, rest-assured that Zuckerberg’s dad-joke-loving writers were already on the case.)
The key focus of Zuckerberg’s talk was Facebook’s new push into augmented reality, the same tech that allowed us all to derive increasingly muted joys from watching a Rattata bounce around our living rooms in last year’s Pokémon Go. Zuckerberg envisions a world in which we’ll view everything through our phone’s cameras, taking 3D pictures, leaving virtual notes on the refrigerator, and, most importantly, doing it all with his company’s technology, and not the one that Snapchat just announced. (Facebook’s younger, hipper rival unveiled its new AR tech, Snapchat World Lenses, earlier today, imagining a future in which nothing remains unslathered in emojis and OMGs.)
Facebook’s new drive toward phone-based AR feels like a reaction to the company’s previous push for virtual reality headsets. (A direction that’s currently twisted up in an ugly, ongoing lawsuit with video game publisher ZeniMax over Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus in 2014.) The focus on phone-based augmented reality dovetails with Zuckerberg’s insistence that, unlike Snapchat, which has a veneer of high-end elitism, Facebook is the social network for everybody, rich and poor, young and old, all of us walking into shit and going rapidly blind together in our emoji hellworlds in peace.