Zuckerberg on telepathy: you'll capture a thought and share it with the world

Mark Zuckerberg Stage

First Facebook had pictures. Then it had videos. And soon it will have virtual reality. But some day, CEO Mark Zuckerberg imagines a way for users to be able to transmit thoughts directly from one brain to another.

“You’re going to just be able to capture a thought, what you’re thinking or feeling in kind of its ideal and perfect form in your head, and be able to share that with the world in a format where they can get that,” Zuckerberg said in a live video Q&A broadcast from his Facebook page. “There’s some pretty crazy brain research going on that suggests we might be able to do this at some point.”

Zuckerberg isn’t saying he wants Facebook users to be able to just beam thoughts into friends heads with the same freedom they post, say, cat videos. He was careful to say he thinks figuring out how to transfer thoughts is “probably decades” away and said consumers would need to maintain control about when they participate.

But for a company that began as a glorified college dating service, it’s one of the more far out ideas the Facebook leader has floated publicly. Zuckerberg previously hinted at his interest in telepathy in another live chat in 2015.

Zuckerberg was taking questions live from Facebook users Tuesday as part of a demo of his company’s live video feature, which lets anyone launch live global broadcasts using their web cameras. To illustrate that point, Zuckerberg spoke from his office and without the appearance of professional lighting or camera equipment.

Other parts were less everyday. At one point Zuckerberg walked away from the camera to say he wanted to bring someone else on screen to help answer user questions; he returned with the comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Seinfeld, being Seinfeld, appeared less interested in talking about connecting the world and new products and more interested in probingZuckerberg’s personal life. For the CEO of a company that encourages people to document their lives online, Zuckerberg is actually pretty private.

He did however offer up one embarrassing episode, telling Seinfeld that he recently broke his arm after falling off his new triathlon bike at a stop sign because he forgot to unclip from his pedals.

Such incidents are a rite of passage for many new cyclists. The break is small and Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, isn’t wearing a cast. “I got those clips. If you’re going going to be an intense bike rider you have to go for it,” Zuckerberg said to Seinfeld. “My training is not off to a good start on this.”

Zuckerberg said one of his resolutions for 2016 was to run one mile a day – until he then realized that was too easy. Seinfeld, who, at least on screen, takes pride in his slim waist, agreed. “I call that a running pastime, a side project,” the comedian said.

Zuckerberg said he soon found himself waking up and running a half marathon – 13.1 miles – before starting the day. So, as one does, he decided he should do a triathlon, which also includes a cycling and swimming section. This led him to the bike shop, which led him to buying a fancy bike, which led him to a broken arm.

The real problem, Zuckerberg said, is that since his injury doesn’t require a cast, he’s caught in the no man’s land between those with no injuries and those with clearly broken limbs. “People don’t know what to do with a broken arm that doesn’t quite look broken,” Zuckerberg told Seinfeld. “My wife wants me to put a temporary tattoo on it saying ‘broken’.”

The comedian noted that Facebook staff had repeatedly warned him about the CEO’s broken arm as he wandered around Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, campus on Tuesday. “It’s a big thing going on at the company today!” Seinfeld said.

“Yeah,” Zuckerberg said. “Not quite sure how to react to that.”

The CEO said he is making more progress with his other New Year’s resolution: an artificial intelligence that can control his home. Zuckerberg said he now has a camera at this door that can recognize certain people who should be automatically let in. “My wife, for instance,” he said.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Danny Yadron in San Francisco, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th June 2016 00.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010