On October 15, 2020, Head of Facebook Reality Labs Andrew Bosworth held an AMA on Instagram. From shoutouts for Moss and Tetris® Effect to thoughts on future technology, check out the video below for some of the highlights.
Ask Me Anything with Andrew Bosworth
What do you wish was on Quest that’s not yet?
Dude, I am so pumped for Assassin’s Creed. I love that franchise, and I just think it’s begging for the VR treatment, so it’s my number one. Can’t wait, so excited. Myst also, close second. Myst, coming soon.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten at a FB cafe?
It’s the barbecue shack. Why is that even a question?
How do you combine the rational and emotional when telling stories about new tech?
Well the answer is kind of in the question: You have to tell stories. You know, if you really are telling stories, if you’re talking about narratives that have dramatic tension and resolution, you’re telling a story that’s got emotion and makes sense, so telling stories.
What are your methods of learning something new? Especially if it's a complex field.
You just ask questions. Honestly, the biggest mistake people make is they try to act like they know more than they do. The best leaders I know are not afraid to look dumb, you know, and they pull the thread no matter where it leads them, and that’s how you build greater understanding.
Top managing tips and lessons learned?
I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way. I write about them at boz.com, and the number one thing for me is if people aren’t aligned on a goal, nothing else you do is gonna matter. And if they are aligned on a goal, you can actually go over a lot of tactical disagreements successfully
Oculus [Quest] 2: which app do you spend most time?
Well, I do a lot of dogfooding, which kind of distorts my official numbers, but for a long time I was doing rhythm games, Beat Saber, Pistol Whip. Lately it’s been Tetris® Effect, been kind of just chilin’—that chill vibe at the end of the day.
Have you voted?
Not only did I vote, but I tracked my ballot and it has already been received, so for everyone out there, vote.
What’s the first game I should get for my Quest 2?
I don't know you... but I’m gonna say Moss.
FRL has shown off full body tracking research via a camera. Future Quest 2 hardware add-on?
We don’t currently envision people wearing VR headsets walking down the street. I suppose you really could if you wanted to in Passthrough Mode, but that’s not the main goal, so no, the research that we’re doing is really oriented towards augmented reality.
Besides being an awesome computer scientist, what would your dream job be even if it didn’t pay well?
I do feel very lucky that the thing I happen to be passionate about from a young age ended up being a lucrative career. For me, I've always wanted to create things. I think it'd be really fun to be a photographer, you know a NatGeo kind of journalist, a photographer.
Any word on people getting their Facebook accounts banned, making Quest useless?
Yeah, of course. We’ve been tracking this from day one, really closely, following up with every single individual case that comes across. The number of cases isn’t large, but of course the impact is huge on those people, and we take that really seriously. Every single person in VR matters to us.
So I mean, I think people should continue to make sure their Facebook accounts are in good standing before they buy the headset—they can work through those problems before they do it. And then second of all is we are working really quickly through those and resolving all those issues that come up. They’re Facebook account issues—they can be solved, and we’re working through them.
But I want to point out, this is very common. Google, Apple, Xbox—pick a favorite—they make you sign in with an account, and there’s a reason for that. We get to provide better services that way and stronger guarantees around things like data security and compliance with regulations, so I’m a big fan of this move even still.
Why change the [Quest 2] color to white? Impressive that controller tracking works well with that!
Yeah, we like the look, and we think it makes VR maybe a little more accessible, maybe a little less intense, a little less male- or gamer-centric, and so we thought white would be a more universal palette that people would appreciate. And it was an engineering challenge getting it to work with white—thanks for recognizing,
How soon do you think the Quest Platform will reach 10 million users?
Well, I don’t know the exact answer, but it’s sooner than I thought it was two weeks ago.
Has the time during COVID-19 shifted your perspective in any way?
Personally, the extra time with my family from not commuting has been hugely valuable to me honestly, and so that’s a shift I’m gonna have to think about when we do go back to the office. Professionally, honestly, it’s mostly just given me more conviction on things I already believed about, like the future of work.
When can we expect 90Hz support to roll out?
Yeah, 90Hz is out in some applications like the browser for example. We are working on getting it more and more in the hands of devs. Obviously we want to give people a very high-quality experience that they can count on, but we also want to let the engines fly on this thing, so we’re working on it.
Which Portal is best for Zoom?
There’s really no question in my mind that the Portal+ right here is the best for Zoom calls, although I also have a little Portal Mini, and if I have just a quick one-on-one little chat, I can do that right there.
Zoom on Portal TV?
I’m super excited for this. We are working on it. I’ve got my Portal TV ready to go here to put on that TV, honestly just waiting for Zoom. I already have like two other Portal TVs in the house, so that's my extra one. I’m obsessed.
Why is Quest 2 so cheap?
You know, this question isn’t getting enough, in my opinion, play in the press or in the media space. Tremendous technical accomplishment of Quest wasn’t just the 90Hz and all the other things or being lighter—the price is a tremendous technical accomplishment.
What are your thoughts on remote? Do you prefer in-person or remote work?
There isn’t one answer to this. There is some work that’s better in person, big group meetings, but there’s also some work that I’m really enjoying doing from home, if I’m just doing emails and one-on-ones, this ain’t bad.
What emerging technology are you most excited about? Why?
The technology I wish would come along would be wireless power, but as I’m told, that’s still pretty far away and the commercial things we’ve seen so far are sink. I gotta tell you, we still have not even scratched the surface of what AI can do for us in our lives, our daily everyday lives.
If you had to work at another tech company, which one?
Little known secret, all the tech companies are probably pretty great places to work. I don’t know that after Facebook I’m gonna jump to one of the other ones though. I might take some time off and maybe do my own thing, but even that’s not gonna happen for a long time. I’m really happy doing this work in AR and VR. Hi, Mark!
Thoughts on light field tech for lenses/displays, e.g. for Oculus? How mature is that tech?
I usually think of light fields in terms of capture of photons, not so much in terms of displays, but things like waveguides, yeah, they’re there. They’re here now. They could be great form factor improvements. They’re still pretty pricey, and we’re not quite at the brightness or resolution we need, but that’s a problem we’re working on.
What would you love to build but doesn’t have the tech now?
I mean, it’s literally everything I’m building.
Do you think VR is built for mega-campaign games?
It’s getting there. I think it could get there. I think it’s not crazy to think someone would do it in a Quest 2, especially if they had a really comfortable fitting strap. I just think you’ve gotta continue to make it easier to wear for long periods of time.
Is the struggle between innovation and innovation at scale difficult for you?
You know, sure, when you're at scale, you’re constantly having to debate because changes have a real cost to existing consumers. That’s one reason we committed to a stable Quest ecosystem in the previous release, and we’re sticking with it with Quest 2 and we’ll continue to stick with it.