Was Mark Zuckerberg's Virtual Reality Tour Of Ravaged Puerto Rico Really Tasteless?

A Facebook virtual reality presentation blasted by multiple critics as "tone-deaf" prompted an apology from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday after it jarringly juxtaposed video-game-style avatars with live images of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and actual survivors.

"You can get a sense of some of the damage here that the hurricanes have done", Zuckerberg said through his 3D avatar during a live exhibition of the technology.

Facebook has been using its artificial intelligence technology to map Puerto Rico, to help the Red Cross and other organizations identify areas where people are most in need, Zuckerberg said. "It really feels like we're in Puerto Rico, and it's obviously a tough place to get to right now", Zuckerberg added. They then discuss the advantages of VR and Facebook's partnership with NetHope and the American Red Cross for relief efforts. Weeks after landfall, fewer than one in eight residents of the island had electricity and barely more than half of the population had access to clean water.

The video is stunning - go 2 minutes into this clip, and make sure you wait for the high-five between Mark and his social media honcho, Rachel.

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Russia, for instance, was able to exploit "the capitalist nature of what motivates Facebook, " Gerzof Richard said.

"The whole thing is a tonal mess resembling nothing more than rubbernecking and disaster tourism", wrote Tom McKay of Gizmodo.

Zuckerberg apologized to anyone the video offended and said the goal of the exercise was to demonstrate how VR can raise awareness. "This street is completely flooded", Zuckerberg exclaimed while looking around. The HTC Vive costs $800 and includes motion controllers while the Sony PlayStation VR costs $400, but does not include motion controllers and a mandatory sensor camera-those extras bump the PlayStation VR's price to $460.

Ultimately, as we saw with Equifax, sometimes private, centralized, controlled organizations don't want to be transparent about things that are going on "in-house".

Good news! The social media giant just announced "3D Posts", a new type of News Feed post that lets people create 3D objects, then post them directly to Facebook. "My answer: A lot of these would be in the closet", he said referring to the notion that there wasn't enough compelling VR content last year to keep people engaged. The Puerto Ricans are suffering and you are using our tragedy for this??

Another added, "Is this a joke?" The effort will increase Facebook's costs, although it's unclear by how much.

(Derechos de autor © 2015. Todos los derechos reservados.)

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