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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Talks Tech, AI and Health Research at APEC Summit

© REUTERS / Mariana BazoFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg waves to the audience during a meeting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ceo Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg waves to the audience during a meeting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ceo Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
While the shadow of Donald Trump may be haunting some of those who gathered for the 2016 APEC Summit in Peru, the US President-elect wasn’t on the list of attendees. Meanwhile another American with bags of influence and an army of supporters arrived in Lima.

Denis Bolotsky — Unlike most top government officials whose flight itineraries are usually kept secret, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg preferred to share the details of his journey to Peru with his followers.  

Thousands of Peruvians greeted him in the comments to his latest posts, treating the founder of the social network almost like another head of state.

​On Saturday Zuckerberg delivered his keynote speech at the APEC Summit. He focused on health and longevity research, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and connectivity, and at one point even quoted JFK:

“As Kennedy said – “It’s a time for greatness.” And today with accelerating progress, and science and technology, our generation has the potential to do even more great things than in any other time in history.”

According to Facebook's founder, in a modern world people don’t have to rely on media anymore to share the information and express their concerns, so he considers increasing connectivity around the world very important:

"Giving 2 billion people a voice is a great thing to do. You know what’s even better? Giving 7 billion people a voice.”

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At the 2016 APEC Summit Facebook is showcasing some of its current and future technologies. Journalists and delegates have a chance to wear an Oculus headset to take a journey into the virtual reality.

As for giving people a voice, there are also a number of connectivity solutions on display in Lima, including a model of a solar-powered drone that Facebook will be using to distribute internet in remote areas:

Facebook spokesperson Alan Cooper told Sputnik that when it comes to connectivity the company is working in collaboration with the telecom industry to achieve its goals, but it’s also developing its own technology and infrastructure:

“Technology doesn’t have to be tethered to current infrastructure. And so, a lot of the things we’re building actually free up more economical things to develop and deliver internet – things like drones, things like urban-based solutions that increase the speed of publically available wi-fi.”

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Another area that Facebook is currently investing in is artificial intelligence. The company’s neural networks are actively learning human languages, doing 2 billion machine translations per day on Facebook.com, which helps build advanced translation algorithms. But that’s not all, according to Mark Zuckerberg, AI software that Facebook is working on may also “go out and scan, and flag content than might lead to violence.”

But despite good intentions, the way in which Facebook handles user content, including chats, has been receiving some criticism from security experts.

In October this year Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, were named the most secure chat platforms by Amnesty International. However, both apps received criticism from another watchdog – the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for a range of issues, including flaws in encryption technology.

Nevertheless, Facebook representatives say that the company invests heavily in privacy and the machine translation project is currently more of a signal test, rather than something that analyzes all of the information passing the network.  So, for now, it’s perhaps too early to be concerned about Facebook’s AI revolting against its creators and becoming the real-life version of the evil Skynet from the movie “Terminator.”

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