Most of us have rather mundane New Year’s resolutions: eat less, exercise more, read more books. While noble enough in their own right, those seem to always pale to the breath and aspiration of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s annual “personal challenge,” aka a New Year’s resolution for billionaires.
As the BBC points out, Zuck’s past “personal challenges” have included learning Mandarin Chinese (2010), building a bespoke AI system for his home à la Tony Stark (2016), and go to every U.S. state to visit with people—prompting rumors he was going to run for president (2017). And, as the BBC points out, his 2019 challenge to discuss the future of technology’s impact on society with “leaders, experts and people in our community” only led to him speaking with eight white men and one white woman.
Perhaps last year’s failure is why Zuck has decided to ditch his New Year’s “personal challenge” this year and, presumably, for the next decade. As Zuck wrote in a Facebook post:
So while I’m glad I did annual challenges over the last decade, it’s time to do something different. This decade I’m going to take a longer term focus. Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030 so I can make sure I’m focusing on those things. By then, if things go well, my daughter Max will be in high school, we’ll have the technology to feel truly present with another person no matter where they are, and scientific research will have helped cure and prevent enough diseases to extend our average life expectancy by another 2.5 years.
Some of Zuck’s predictions for how the world will be by 2030 include the gem, “By the end of this decade, I expect more institutions will be run by millennials and more policies will be set to address these problems with longer term outlooks.”
Ah, that’s a really safe bet, Zuck, considering the oldest millennials are almost 40 now. And since many institutions are run by people in their 40s and early 50s, predicting millennials will hold more roles running institutions by 2030 is something that probably doesn’t need to be said.
One of the less obvious predictions Zuck makes, though many have predicted this trend already, is that social networks will become more intimate. “Our digital social environments will feel very different over the next 5+ years, re-emphasizing private interactions and helping us build the smaller communities we all need in our lives,” says Zuckerberg.
As for the computing device that Zuckerberg predicts will define the next decade, he says the smartphone will lose its crown to augmented reality glasses. This is a vision shared by many of the biggest tech companies today that are working on their own AR specs including Apple, Microsoft, and Google (Facebook has Oculus). But as Zuck points out, AR could radically alter our digital interactions, by allowing us to be “present” anywhere:
Today, many people feel like they have to move to cities because that’s where the jobs are. But there isn’t enough housing in many cities, so housing costs are skyrocketing while quality of living is decreasing. Imagine if you could live anywhere you chose and access any job anywhere else.
But the main takeaway from Zuckerberg’s post is: If a billionaire doesn’t feel like he needs an annual New Year’s resolution anymore, don’t feel too badly that yours only lasted 10 days.