Social media updates: blogger killed, new tech from F8 conference

I thought, in this edition I'd share with you only some  exciting news coming from the Facebook's F8 Developer Conference. But then came the news of a blogger's murder for challenging authority. So, let me start with that, as ITB's tribute to such fearless bloggers.

A blogger pays with life for criticizing authority

In Male, the capital of Maldives - a tiny nation in the Indian Ocean - a blogger was stabbed to death on April 23. Yameen Rasheed was found dead with multiple stab wounds in his apartment staircase.

Yameen had complained to the police several times about death threats he had been receiving for months.

Yameen was a well-known voice in favor of liberal thoughts and freedom of expression. He ran a personal blog, Uglyy, since 2005. In 2013, he started a new blog The Daily Panic, which he called 'Maldives' only news website'. He used it to satirise the frequently unsatirisable politics of Maldives.

daily panic blog

The political opposition in Maldives has blamed the government for the killing and associated it with the government's systematic crackdown on all dissenting voices. United Nations has issued a call for an immediate investigation into the killing of Yameen.

Back to business. The annual Facebook Developer Conference, nicknamed F8, has just ended with a lot of exciting tech and social media predictions.
F8 showcased over a dozen products, concepts and offers to developers and entrepreneurs including a 360-degree video camera and other camera features, new features on FB Messenger, video streaming on FB Live, and a bot platform. I'd talk of just three that are particularly interesting:

Virtual reality social chat app, Facebook Spaces

If you are one who happens to chat with his friends on Facebook Messenger, you might soon have the option to chat ‘in virtual reality’ in which your and friends' avatars are placed inside a 3D video and become part of it, like being part of an immersive video game. Unlike video games, you can chat real time and your respond to the others’ reactions is instant, not programmed. Of course, to be able to do so, you’d need the Oculus Rift virtual reality gear. Right now, it is not too exciting and has problems,  and you need to spend good money on the VR (Oculus Rift) gear. 

Facebook Spaces
FB Spaces: chatting in virtual world

The augmented reality push

Augmented reality has been high on the tech biggies’ minds for sometime. Facebook gave its hint earlier, but now it has shared the AR platform with developers wanting to create AR based apps, games and so on. 

Starting with possible augmented reality shooting and sharing, it would move to games, 3D objects, etc.

So, if augmented reality takes centre-stage in people's minds and is adopted widely, the tiny camera on your mobile phone would become one of the most important part of your electronic gadgetry, that's what Facebook feels.

For the uninitiated, augmented reality is the science of putting virtual objects in real life (i.e. reality) for a surreal experience. For example, being able to create a virtual piece of art on your real wall or [in FB's own imagination] having a coffee mug next to yours so that you feel you are not having your breakfast alone.

Typing with brain, hearing with skin!

A bit of futuristic tech this. It was also shown in the Conference how it will be possible in a couple of years to type at the speed of 100 words per minute strait with brain's commands and without use of fingers.   

In the same vein, It should be possible, using the advances in using the power of brain to interpret sensory experiences, to use touch sensations to 'hear' things.  Cochlear transplants have already shown that this is doable in near future.

It would be interesting to see if support from Facebook helps technology grow fast in this direction.