A Powerful Meeting
On Monday Pope Francis met with Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of social networking giant Facebook, at the Vatican, marking the latest in a string of visits from other major tech-heads this year. Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went to Italy after a devastating earthquake hit the country. They Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said one topic of discussion at the meeting was “how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and make a message of hope arrive, especially to those most in need.”
Zuckerberg wanted to discuss the importance of allowing people who don’t have access to internet to connect with others around the world. He even brought a drone as a gift for the Pope! However, the drone doesn’t work- it was a model of Facebook’s solar-powered Aquila aircraft. The goal of this drone is to be able to “bring” the internet to areas of the world that don’t have it by beaming the internet to them. The actual drone has a wingspan that is larger than a commercial airplane, can fly for up to 90 days at a time, and can cover a 60 mile wide area with internet access.
Zuckerberg conveyed to Pope Francis how much he admires his message of acceptance of different religions and mercy. Zuckerberg hopes that this new technology will enable the Pope’s message of hope and peace, as well as ways to alleviate poverty, can become more widespread.