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Facebook's Vision for the Future of Work

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In a recent article, Facebook showcased various technologies it has been developing to transform the way people interact and communicate. They also have the ability to unleash a radical change in the way people work together, the company says.

Facebook vision for the future of work emphasizes the impact virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) may have on the way people connect and build relationships. Synthetic 3D experience will replace the reality of commuting and sitting at a desk in a shared space. This will not imply, though, a loss of productivity or efficiency, says Facebook.

We envision a dynamic virtual work environment anchored by genuine social presence. Next-generation devices would give people infinite workspaces with configurable virtual screens, whiteboards, and other visionary tools. You could work alone or collaborate in a persistent meeting room with remote coworkers like you were all sharing the same physical space, and with all of the nuance of in-person conversation.

A number of technologies and services built at Facebook, including Workplace, Portal, and Oculus for Business, already support the requirements of working remotely, but more exciting opportunities are already under development, the company maintains. As an example of that Facebook mentions the recently launched Quest system experience, which enables multitasking with multiple browser windows, improved app switching, and improved configurability.

(Video courtesy of Facebook)

VR and AR tech would allow workers to manipulate objects, both real and virtual, using their hands and sense of touch. A key role to make remote interaction more human-like will be played by Avatars, says Facebook.

Avatars would convey complex emotions with all the subtlety of human expression, and audio from voices and other sources would sound like they do in the real world.

(Video courtesy of Facebook)

Another frontier Facebook is trying to advance is hand tracking.

Hand tracking on Quest, as mentioned above, is an early example of what computer vision and deep learning can achieve. With an SDK, developers are already exploring the potential for enabling more expressive gestures everywhere from meeting rooms to surgical simulations.

As a final ingredient to this recipe, Facebook identifies spatial audio, which mimics the directions sounds come from in real life and improves the sense of realism of the listener's experience.

Facebook believes these innovations can bring a real transformation to the reality of work, fostering a world where screens are replaced by VR headsets and, with a bit of naivety perhaps, commuting does not come in the way of work-life balance.

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