Zuckerberg taps VR to detail relief efforts in Puerto Rico

Mark Zuckerberg Talks About Hurricanes and Puerto Rico in Virtual Reality

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing criticism after he used the social network's "Spaces" virtual reality platform to tour hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. "You can get a sense of some of the damage here that the hurricanes have done, and one of the things that's really magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling that you're really in a place". Because that could actually be helpful?

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.

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

The tech tycoon - streaming from Facebook's campus in Menlo Park, California - then announced that the company is partnering with the Red Cross to use artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with relief efforts in the devastated South American country.

The rules of virtual reality are still being established, but here's an easy one: Don't use human disasters as a way to show off features of your VR product.

Using the VR platform known as Facebook Spaces to transport himself to Puerto Rico, Zuckerberg and social VR chief Rachel Franklin discussed the wonders of their technology, including its proprietary Oculus Rift headset.

Most notably, the entrepreneurial wunderkind detailed how they have been teaming up with the Red Cross by building artificial intelligence which help create population maps, and thus can efficiently allocate resources and assistance.

The moment Zuckerberg points out that "this street is completely flooded" while in front of an image of a flooded street is also a highlight.

The internet was quick to criticize the PR stunt, as well as defend what Facebook has done for the region-the company has donated $1.5 million to relief funds on top of its connectivity efforts. 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. 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.

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