Was Mark Zuckerberg's Virtual Reality Tour Of Ravaged Puerto Rico Really Tasteless?

VR Mark Zuckerberg discusses how Facebook is using AI to aid the Red Cross in Puerto Rico

Donning an Oculus Rift, Zuckerberg attempted to explain how Spaces related to the company's relief efforts after major disasters.

The company intends to help the flood-hit country via NetHope and the American Red Cross.

In a video posted to his account, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg joined by the company's head of social virtual reality, Rachel Franklin, toured a devastated Puerto Rico as they essentially sold Facebook's products. The tech giant is using artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to help pinpoint areas of the island most in need of assistance. The live-stream saw Zuckerberg and Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook, represented as cartoon avatars in flooded areas of the USA territory, where citizens are still struggling to access clean water, electricity and other necessities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. "You know, it feels like we're really here in Puerto Rico, where it's obviously a tough place to get into now, and a lot of people are really suffering with the aftermath of the hurricanes". "I mean, one of the things that's really magical about virtual reality is that you can get the feeling that you're really in a place ..." They went on to promote their VR product and Oculus Connect 4, an upcoming VR event.

The two Facebook executives appeared as animated avatars superimposed on several real-life locations including Facebook's headquarters, the moon, and amid the devastation on storm-ravished Puerto Rico.

"When you are in the middle of a disaster like this, it's really important that people have access to the internet", he said, noting it's useful in communicating with loved ones.

"This street is really flooded", added Zuckerberg.

Next, the duo chose to "teleport" back to California to promote Facebook's upcoming Oculus Connect developer conference by showing off a 360-degree video from last year's event.

"Yeah, it's really insane to feel like you're in the middle of it... right, do you wanna teleport somewhere else?" Further, stressing the importance of the Internet, he said that relief workers should be able to coordinate to find out the spot where people are looking for help. Both also went to Zuckerberg's living room to see the Zuckerberg's dog - Beast.



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