On January 10th, it was reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg usually sets a New Year’s Day “personal challenge” in January, but he announced this year that he would abandon the tradition. Instead, he will focus on the five long-term goals over the next decade, prioritizing projects that take longer to integrate, mainly to address problems for young people, smaller, more intimate social platforms, opportunities for small businesses, AR/VR technology and regulatory issues.
Here’s the full text of Zuckerberg’s post:
Every time I meet the New Year for the past decade, I’ve set up personal challenges. My goal is to keep growing in new ways outside of managing Facebook’s day-to-day work. These challenges taught me to speak Mandarin, write artificial intelligence assistants for my residence, read more books, run more roads, learn to hunt and cook, and become more comfortable with public speaking.
When I started these challenges, my life was almost entirely about how to develop Facebook. There is too much to learn now. At Facebook, we’re building many different applications and technologies, from new private social platforms to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, and we’re taking on more social responsibility. Outside of Facebook, I’m now a father of two, and I love being with my family, working on our charity, and making progress in the sports and hobbies I’ve developed over the years. So while I’m glad I’ve been taking on challenges every year for the past decade, it’s time to do something different.
Over the next decade, I will focus on longer-term goals. Instead of challenging year after year, I try to think about what I want to be like in 2030, so that I can make sure I’m focused on these things. By then, if all goes well, my daughter Max will be in high school, and we’ll have the technology to feel like we’re really with other people, and wherever they are, scientific research will help cure and prevent more diseases, increasing our average life expectancy by another 2.5 years.
Here are five of the most important things I think i need to do in the next decade:
When I started Facebook, one of the reasons I wanted to give people a voice was that I thought it would give more power to our generation. I think this generation has important things to express, but it doesn’t get enough attention. It turns out that it’s not just my generation that feels marginalized and needs more voice, and these tools empower many different groups in society. I’m glad that more people have a voice, but that hasn’t brought about the generational change sialevels I’d like to have in solving important issues. I think this will happen in the next decade.
Today, many of the most important institutions in our society are still not doing enough to address the problems facing the younger generation, from climate change to runaway education, housing and health care. But with Millennials and more younger generations able to vote, I expect that to start changing rapidly. I expect that by the end of this century, more institutions will be run by millennials, and more policies will address these issues in the longer term.
In many ways, Facebook is a millennial company that takes into account this generation’ problems. In the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, our focus is on long-term efforts that will primarily help our children’s generation, such as investing in treating, preventing and managing all the diseases they may face, or making primary education more personalized to meet the needs of students. Over the next decade, we will focus more on funding and platforms for young entrepreneurs, scientists and leaders to make these changes.
New private social platform
The Internet gives us the power to connect with anyone anywhere. It’s incredibly empowering and means that our relationships and opportunities are no longer limited to where we live. We are now part of a vast community of billions of people with unparalleled vitality, culture and economic opportunity.
But it is precisely because the community is so large that it also presents many challenges that make us eager to remain close. When I grew up in a small town, it was easy to generate a small sense of mission. But in a multibillion-dollar community, it’s hard to find a unique role you should play. Over the next decade, many of the most important social infrastructure will help us rebuild smaller communities and give us that intimacy again.
This is one of my most exciting areas of innovation. Over the next five years or so, our digital social environment will be very different, refocusing on private interactions and helping us build smaller communities that everyone needs in their lives.
Creating opportunities for small businesses
The fastest-growing economy of the past decade has been the technology sector. Over the next decade, I expect technology to continue to create opportunities, but more by making better use of technology for faster growth in all other parts of the economy.
Our top focus is on helping small businesses. More than 140 million small businesses have reached out to customers in our services, most of them through free. Now, all they need to do is set up an account on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, and then either talk to people for free or buy ads to spread their message more widely. Over the next decade, we want to build business and payment tools so that every small business has easy access to the same technology that was previously available only to large companies.
If we can do that, anyone can sell products through Instagram, send messages and support to customers via Messenger, or send money to other countries immediately and at low cost through WhatsApp, which will greatly help create more opportunities around the world. Ultimately, a strong and stable economy depends on broad success, and the best way to do that is for small businesses to become technology companies.
Next-generation computing platform
The technology platform of the past decade has been mobile phones, the platform sat for the previous decade is about the web, and the platform of the 1990s was desktop computers. Every computing platform becomes more ubiquitous, and we can interact with it more naturally. While I expect the phone to remain our primary device platform for most of the next decade, at some point we will have a breakthrough AR glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.
Both AR and VR can provide a sense of presence, just as you’re there, really staying with someone else or somewhere. The next platform doesn’t keep us away from the people around us, but helps us get along more with others and helps get technology out of the way. While many of the early AR and VR devices looked cumbersome, I think these will be the most user-friendly and socialtechnology platforms people have ever built.
The ability to “show up” anytime, anywhere will also help solve some of the biggest social problems of our time, such as ballooning housing costs and geographic inequality of opportunity. Today, many people feel they have to move to the city because there are jobs. But many cities don’t have enough housing, so housing costs are skyrocketing and quality of life is falling. Imagine if you could live anywhere you choose and get any job anywhere else. If we can achieve the desired goals, by 2030, this should be closer to reality.
New forms of governance
One of the big questions ahead of the decade is: How do we manage the big new digital communities that the Internet brings? Platforms like Facebook must weigh social values that we all value, such as freedom of speech and security, privacy and law enforcement, or creating open systems and locking data and access. There are few clear “right” answers, and in many cases it is equally important to make decisions in a way that the community feels legitimate. From this perspective, I don’t think private companies should make so many important decisions that touch on fundamental democratic values.
One way to solve this problem is through stronger regulation. As long as our government is considered legitimate, the rules established through the democratic process can add more legitimacy and trust to the rules defined by companies alone. I think it would help the government to establish clearer rules in many areas, including elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability. I’ve called for new regulation sands in these areas, and I hope that over the next decade we’ll have clearer rules for the Internet.
Another, or even better, way to solve this problem is to create new self-management styles for communities. An example of independent governance is the oversight committee we are creating. Soon, you will be able to appeal your disagreement decision to an independent committee that will have the final say on whether to allow certain content. Over the next decade, I want to use my position to build more community governance rules and build more of these institutions. If successful, it could be a model for other online communities in the future.
We have a lot of work to do in the next decade and a lot to learn to help achieve that. I wish you a good start in the new and next decade!