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Mark Zuckerberg 'visits' hurricane-hit Puerto Rico in VR promo

11 October 2017, 12:21 | Megan Pierce

Mark Zuckerberg 'visits' hurricane-hit Puerto Rico in VR promo

Alex Jenkins tweeted'Oof. The Facebook promotional event exploiting Puerto Rico as VR disaster porn is...not a good look. Adult leadership needed stat

"It feels like we are really in Puerto Rico, it is a tough place to get to and people are really suffering from the hurricanes", said Zuckerberg again.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a staunch believer of Artificial Intelligence, and the world has gotten a glimpse of it several times over the past few years. The company is taking help of artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to determine areas to provide aid.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased his company's virtual reality (VR) system Monday by conducting a live-stream tour of Puerto Rico, a US territory recently ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

After mentioning the Oculus event atop Facebook's office, Zuckerberg and Franklin transported themselves into a recent NPR-produced 360-video that showed widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria in September.

Zuckerberg's comments during the demonstration didn't help either.

"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.

Do the avatars have any options on how to make you less awkward or how to get you out of really bad promotional stunts?...

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The demo has repeatedly been called "tone deaf", since Zuckerberg and Facebook's head of social virtual reality, Rachel Franklin, were showing their avatars smiling and high-fiving against a backdrop of flooded areas and people cleaning up debris.

He also said that Facebook used satellite imagery to create so-called "population maps" that the Red Cross can use to see heavily populated areas and more quickly determine who needs help.

From inside Facebook's Frank Gehry-designed headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the two chose to "check out this interesting 360 video", as Zuckerberg described it, of the devastation in Puerto Rico.

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 Menlo Park, California-based company has donated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico relief through the World Food Program and Net Hope.

Despite the value of 'safety check, ' it only works if people are connected to the internet.

Needless to say, many weren't happy with the use of disaster relief to sell a product.



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