Zuckerberg wants Harvard grads to build a world of purpose

Mark Zuckerberg who was at Harvard yesterday, from where he launched Facebook, told graduates that it was up to them to bring purpose to the world, fight inequality and strengthen the global community.

''Change starts local. Even global changes start small - with people like us,'' the Facebook CEO said. Zuckerberg went on to share stories about graduates such as David Razu Aznar, a former city leader who led the effort to legalise gay marriage in Mexico City, and Agnes Igoye, who grew up in Uganda's conflict zones and now trained law enforcement officers.

Zuckerber started Facebook in his dorm room in 2004 which started off as a closed networking site for Harvard students but was now a global communications force with nearly two billion members.

According to commentators, Facebook has had a profound effect, connecting people who would have never met otherwise, letting them form supportive networks online and offline. It had also allowed people to communicate in developing countries even if they did not have a phone number or a smartphone.

On a negative note, however, Facebook had also served to spread misinformation bordering on propaganda, hateful views and bullying, reflecting the worst in humanity.

But, according to commentators, technology also had a disruptive effect leading to loss of purpose among people, who failed to embrace the change. Reflecting on the unsettling effects of loss of purpose from technological change, Zuckerberg said.

"When our parents graduated, that sense of purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community," Zuckerberg said. "But today, technology and automation are eliminating jobs. Membership in a lot of communities has been declining, and a lot of people are feeling disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void in their lives."

According to commentators, Zuckerberg's remarks echoed those of many government and business leaders who were grappling with the prospect of robots taking over people's jobs.

The EU was even considering a form of social security tax on automated factories to make up for an anticipated decline in wages being paid to humans. Others, including US secretary of labor Steve Mnuchin were not as worried about a robot revolution.