Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his year 2017 challenge will be to visit and interact with people in each of the 50 states in the US to better understand and address the social divisions that he believes has set in due to the impact of technology and globalization.
However, while that seems innocent enough, many have begun to cast doubt if that has to do with only pure business interest or to push ahead with his philanthropic ambitions. Instead, there already is a growing clamor as the Facebook CEO could be preparing the ground for a grand plunge into politics.
Earlier, challenges Zuckerberg had taken on include learning to play mandarin, reading 25 books or to run a mile each day throughout the year. Last year, Zuckerberg has devised an artificial intelligence enabled program named Jarvis to help him with his everyday tasks at home. In light of the above, this year’s challenge seems to be the most ambitious so far; one that might have wider ramifications than what is immediately perceptible.
With the new challenge, Zuckerberg also wishes to connect to the American citizens at large that he believes the big tech companies of Silicon Valley has lost connect with. While there has emerged a new group of technology-driven companies that is sitting on a pile of cash, increasing reliance on technology together with the emerging trends of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence has also resulted in massive job cuts as well.
In fact, with the trend for tech firms to adopt artificial intelligence backed solutions for application in our daily lives likely to grow further in 2017, there will no doubt be more job cuts in the anvil. Interestingly, one of the biggest poll planks that the current US President-Elect, Donald Trump has based his entire poll campaign on was to bring back American jobs.
It has been just this Christmas that Zuckerberg has sent out wishes to all via a Facebook post. By doing so, he also claimed he is no longer an atheist. That again is a clear sign of his conforming to a prime requisite for being a future presidential candidate.
This also isn’t the first instance that Zuckerberg showcased his political ambitions. His earlier brush with politics came when he launched the lobby group Fwd.us. That was in 2013 and campaigned for seeking expansion of the H1B visa program to ensure Silicon Valley companies are always able to hire the best talents from across the world.
In any case, Zuckerberg’s newest challenge will no doubt have a lot to do with business as well as an even better understanding of the different user groups that will only allow fine-tuning the Facebook experience as well.
Clearly, the Facebook CEO is onto something big this time, one that will reap business dividends, besides maybe creating the right atmosphere before entering politics full time.