There’s no question that Facebook is a powerful tool in the world of social media, but the company has also been expanding into other areas, with a growing interest in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. One look at its $2 billion deal with Oculus VR indicates that it’s quite serious about this research, too. But one question has always lingered: “Why ”

During a recent Q & A with users of the social network, Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was happy to answer, as reported by VentureBeat. When asked about the interest in these fields by user Jenni Moore from Ireland, he responded with the following:

“We’re working on AI because we think more intelligent services will be much more useful for you to use. For example, if we had computers that could understand the meaning of the posts in News Feed and show you more things you’re interested in, that would be pretty amazing. Similarly, if we could build computers that could understand what’s in an image and could tell a blind person who otherwise couldn’t see that image, that would be pretty amazing as well. This is all within our reach and I hope we can deliver it in the next 10 years.”

The company has been hiring a number of researchers to look into work on artificial intelligence, with Yann LeCun heading up its own Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research unit. With this team, a number of technologies are being worked on to analyze videos, answer questions, identify objects and people in images, and generate image samples. Even with competition from Google and Microsoft, Facebook is heavily interested in the subject.

But then there’s virtual reality, tying back in with Facebook’s purchase of Oculus tech, to which Zuckerberg was quick to respond:

“First, we’re working on spreading internet access around the world through This is the most basic tool people need to get the benefits of the internet — jobs, education, communication, etc. Today, almost 2/3 of the world has no internet access. In the next 10 years, has the potential to help connect hundreds of millions or billions of people who do not have access to the internet today.

“As a side point, research has found that for every 10 people who gain access to the internet, about 1 person is raised out of poverty. So if we can connect the 4 billion people in the world who are unconnected, we can potentially raise 400 million people out of poverty. That’s perhaps one of the greatest things we can do in the world.

“Third, we’re working on VR because I think it’s the next major computing and communication platform after phones. In the future we’ll probably still carry phones in our pockets, but I think we’ll also have glasses on our faces that can help us out throughout the day and give us the ability to share our experiences with those we love in completely immersive and new ways that aren’t possible today.”

More of Zuckerberg’s responses to user questions can be found here. There’s no word on when the artificial intelligence initiative will take place, but the Oculus Rift is currently set for an early 2016 release to retail. No price has been given just yet.