Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conducted an impressive Q&A session this week entirely in Chinese. Ironically, the content of the talk got lost in the spectacle of seeing the head of a multibillion-dollar empire speak a new language, and few reported on what he actually said.

At Tsinghua University in Beijing, Zuckerberg told the crowd in broken Chinese that one of Facebook’s new missions is to advance artificial intelligence (translation from Quartz):

“Facebook is 10 years old this year. So if I ask 10 years from now, what should we develop? I decided we should develop three things. First, we need to connect the entire world. We need everybody to use the Internet. Second, we want to develop [in English] artificial intelligence. I think 10 years from now computers will be better than humans at reading, listening, talking, and other things. So we are developing this.”

So far, Zuckerberg has been mum on his investments in an AI company, Vicarious FPC, which landed $40 million from him, Elon Musk, and Ashton Kutcher. Facebook has all kinds of useful information to advance the field of artificial intelligence. Indeed, if human behavior is a key to replicating the human mind with computers, then perhaps a social network is in an even better position to build social robots than Google, which is also investing heavily in building a “cybernetic friend.”

As for the reason Zuckerberg learned Chinese? His wife’s family speaks the language, and her grandmother only speaks it. (He also loves challenges.)

It’s still a mystery what Facebook plans to do with artificial intelligence. But with all those users sharing so much information, Facebook could build some incredible products.


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