The consumer-driven media revolution will have enormous impact globally as the
next billion people get online, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told an audience
Thursday at the “Facing Tomorrow” Presidential Conference.
speaking at a two-part panel titled “The New Media Making Tomorrow,” along with
panelists David Fischer, vice-president of advertising and global operations at
Facebook, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond and TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. The session was
moderated by Dr. Yossi Vardi, former director-general for the Israeli ministries
of development and energy.
Wales expressed optimism about the exponential
increase in Internet and digital mobile device use. “One of the most important
things when we think about the future of the Internet is to think about the
developing world,” he said.
As expected, Wikipedia articles in English,
European and Asian languages are posted in high volume, he said, noting Hebrew
Wikipedia recently surpassed 120,000 articles.
But Wales said the digital
world is starting to drive change in African countries, as massive numbers of
people get online for the first time.
“This is going to have enormous
impact on the world,” he said. “In general, we haven’t had this experience of
that next billion people in direct conversation with us, and that’s coming very,
Wales noted the change will be not simply be in
technological changes, but in how people interact with each other around the
“Everything in Wikipedia, everything in the Wiki-world really, is
a social innovation, not a technical innovation,” he said.
technology exists people begin to be able to do things, but it may take several
years in some cases for people to figure out the way to organize their
communities to accomplish something.”
Fischer shared Wales’s optimism for
the future of social interaction, and said Israel is already active in this
regard. He noted with over three million active on Facebook, Israelis use more
social media than any other nation.
Fischer attributed Facebook’s place
in today’s cultural revolution to connecting people.“You suddenly create also
sorts of opportunities when you rebuild the web around people and you go from
‘what’ to the ‘who,’” he said.
In terms of interacting with friends,
family or corporations, “the whole experience becomes personal and it suddenly
becomes more like the way we live our lives,” Fischer said.
In the realm
of entertainment consumption, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond spoke about how his
industry has actually benefited from the rapid advances in home gaming and
entertainment technological advances.
“People who don’t want to just stay
on their couch all the time – they want to do something else – they want
something special and that’s what’s created the boom in IMAX’s business, is that
He said the biggest changes in the social media
industry right now is in the number of devices across the platforms available,
and the new technology in making 3-D and high-definition images.
filmmakers and retailers like Wal-Mart are disgruntled as studios look to adapt
and market film content for immediate on-demand media platforms.
said he’s not sure what that will mean for the industry as it tries to
“Remember, at the end of the day, it’s about the things that
Shakespeare did and people did before Shakespeare, which is tell a good story
and figure out how to adapt it to the new technologies.”
Rogers said TV had been left behind in the technology advancement, but he urged
the audience to expect great things to come for TV – what he referred as the
first social media.
Near the end of the session, Vardi invited sex
therapist Dr. Ruth onstage to share her views on the Internet. Dr. Ruth was in
the audience prior to hosting her own master class at the conference.
Ruth drew applause when she called on the panelists to use their stature to
teach others about the Internet’s inherent dangers, including violation of
She cited the tragic incident of a gay student in the US who
committed suicide after peers posted a video of a sexual encounter
“Parents have an obligation to know what information the young
people get on the Internet,” she said.
Dr. Ruth drew laughter from the
audience when she asked Fischer to join her at the podium to touch him in order
to demonstrate how people still need to interact through human touch. She
bypassed President Shimon Peres, who was seated in the audience.
time I’m getting older, so I’m going to use a younger man,” she said.
media panel followed an introductory panel session, titled “The Future of
Connectivity – Internet Everywhere” which included Leo Apotheker, CEO of
Hewlett- Packard, William E. McCracken CEO of CA Technologies, Rene Obermann,
CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, and Ivan Seidenberg, CEO and board chairman at
All cautioned about heightened security issues, including
cyber-crime, in the face of exponential growth of mobile Internet and global
social networking sites.