Web 2.0: Amateur Hour or Mass-ive Knowledge? A debate with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and author Andrew Keen.
In today's self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion can post a video on YouTube, change an entry on Wikipedia or publish reviews on Yelp, we increasingly turn to the collective intelligence of large numbers of people.
Should we rely on the "wisdom of the crowds," trusting that they are smarter than the expert few? Or is Web 2.0 weakening traditional media to the point where we only have opinion and chaos?- The Commonwealth Club of California
David Ewing Duncan
David Ewing Duncan is an award-winning, best-selling author of eight books published in 21 languages. He is a founder and co-curator of Arc Programs. David is a columnist for Newsweek, a correspondent for The Atlantic and the chief correspondent for NPR Talk’s Biotech Nation. David writes for The New York Times, Fortune, Wired, National Geographic, Discover and many other publications. He is a former commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition and a special correspondent and producer for ABC’s Nightline and 20/20, and correspondent for NOVA’s ScienceNow!. His latest book is When I’m 164: The new science of radical life extension, and what happens if it succeeds. He also wrote Experimental Man: What One Man’s Body Reveals about His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World (Wiley). He was the founder and director of the BioAgenda Institute, and the founding director of the Center of Life Science Policy at UC Berkeley. David is finishing his first novel, a biomedical thriller. David’s work has won numerous awards, including Magazine Story of the Year from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His articles have twice been cited in nominations for National Magazine Awards, and his work has appeared twice in The Best American Science and Nature Writing. David lives in San Francisco and is a member of the SF Writer’s Grotto. His website is www.davidewingduncan.com.
Andrew Keen is a Silicon Valley author, broadcaster and entrepreneur whose provocative book Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is killing our culture was recently acclaimed by The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani as "shrewdly argued" and written "with acuity and passion."
Keen is a prominent media personality who has appeared on the Colbert Report, McNeil-Lehrer Newsnight show, The Today Show, Fox News, CNN International, NPR's Weekend Edition, BBC Newsnight and many other television and radio shows in America and overseas. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, The Weekly Standard, Fast Company and Entertainment Weekly and has been featured in numerous publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times, US News and World Report, BusinessWeek, Wired, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, the Independent & MSNBC.
Keen is also a Silicon Valley media entrepreneur, having founded Audiocafe.com in 1995 and built it into a well known first generation Internet music company. He was educated at the universities of London and California.
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which operates Wikipedia.org, and as the co-founder of Wikia.com.
Wales received his Bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and his Master's in finance from University of Alabama. He was appointed a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2005 and in 2006, he joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.
In January of 2001, Wales started Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and today Wikipedia and its sister projects are among the top-five most visited sites on the web. In mid-2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, to support Wikipedia.org. The Foundation, now based in downtown San Francisco, boasts a staff of close to thirty focusing on fundraising, technology, and programming relating to the expansion of Wikipedia. Wales now sits on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as founder continues to act as a key spokesperson.
In 2004, Wales co-founded Wikia.com, a completely separate company that enables groups of people to share information and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Wikia's community-created wikis range from video games and movies to finance and environmental issues. Wikia's network is now ranked in the top 75 of all websites according to Quantcast.com, and strong growth continues.
Wales has received a Pioneer Award, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2011, the Monaco Media Prize, the 2009 Nokia Foundation annual award, the Business Process Award at the 7th Annual Innovation Awards and Summit by The Economist, The 2008 Global Brand Icon of the Year Award,and on behalf of the Wikimedia project the Quadriga award of Werkstatt Deutschland for A Mission of Enlightenment. In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the 'Young Global Leaders.' This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In addition, Wales received the 'Time 100 Award' in 2006, as he was named one of the world's most influential people in the 'Scientists & Thinkers' category.
Andrew Keen, author of Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is Killing our Culture, argues that a flaw of Wikipedia - and Web 2.0 in general - is the equal weight given to important information and trivial facts.