Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
IT | By Amos Hawkins

Mark Zuckerberg's Weird VR Demo Tour of Devastated Puerto Rico

Mark Zuckerberg's Weird VR Demo Tour of Devastated Puerto Rico

Mark Zuckerberg, a walking, talking, keyboard tapping big blue jean-wearing social gaffe waiting to happen is at it again.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in the firing line over a weird livestream demo of the company's virtual reality (VR) products in which a cartoon version of the billionaire "visited" hurricane-hit Puerto Rico.

Facebook uses artificial intelligence to develop "population maps" to offer satellite imagery of a specific area. "You can look at satellite imagery of an area and get a sense of where it is that people actually live and the density of different places", he said.

"Because when you are in the middle of a disaster like this it is really important that people have access to the internet, both so people can connect with friends and their family outside the disaster zone to tell them they are okay, and tell them what's going on but it is also important when relief workers go down there that they can coordinate with each other and know where people need help", he added.

Later, Zuckerberg, along with Franklin, went to the Moon.

More news: United States approves $15 billion sale of THAAD missile system to Saudi Arabia
More news: Russia, China call for restraint after Trump comment on North Korea
More news: YA Tittle, Hall of Fame quarterback and Giants legend, dead at 90

Zuckerberg showed a cartoon avatar of himself imposed on a 360-degree video captured by NPR. "It's from the perspective where we're tiny and Beast is huge", Zuckerberg said.

On Monday, Zuckerberg live-streamed a virtual reality video of his 3D cartoon self-along with Facebook's head of social VR Rachel Franklin-"touring" Puerto Rico, which was hit by a Category 4 hurricane in September. Not just the grinning Zuckerberg cartoon, but also a high-five moment between Franklin and Zuckerberg with tiresome scenes around was awkward.

GQ says the social media firm "seems to be doing some genuinely good work in Puerto Rico", but adds that visiting the flooded region through VR while Zuckerberg and Franklin were "safe on dry mainland soil" was "woefully tone-deaf".

The Menlo Park, California-based company has donated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico relief through the World Food Program and Net Hope. It's bland, inoffensive, and set in an environment that's more suited to be shown off in Facebook Spaces - and for Zuck's, uh, unique brand of showmanship.

But a number of people on the internet, including certain media outlets, are arguing that Zuckerberg's attempt at highlighting his company's advanced technology was tasteless, even offensive.

Like this: