Berkman Center Faculty Co-Director Yochai Benkler and Founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation Jimmy Wales discuss the necessity of cooperation on the internet today.
Yochai Benkler is the Berkman professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Since the 1990s he has played a part in characterizing the role of information commons and decentralized collaboration to innovation, information production, and freedom in the networked economy and society. His books include The Wealth of Networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom (Yale University Press 2006), which won academic awards from the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, and the McGannon award for social and ethical relevance in communications. His work is socially engaged, winning him the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award for 2007, Public Knowledge's IP3 Award in 2006, and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011. It is also anchored in the realities of markets, having been cited as "perhaps the best work yet about the fast moving, enthusiast-driven Internet" by the Financial Times and named best business book about the future in 2006 by Strategy and Business. Benkler has produced reports or served in an advisory capacity for a range communications and intellectual property regulators and policy makers at the national and international levels. His work can be freely accessed at benkler.org.
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.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales discusses neutrality on Wikipedia, arguing that it's maintained through the concept of "mutually assured destruction." He explains that editors are forced to "write for the enemy," as anything that's explicitly biased will be deleted by someone on the other side of the debate.
Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, argues that Wikipedia’s model of collaboration can be applied to other aspects of society. He contends that the prevailing notion that humans are selfish is untrue, and that reworking society to be more in-line with the Wikipedia model could prove highly beneficial.
Jimmy Wales discusses the idea of paying Wikipedia editors in order to encourage people in developing countries to contribute their perspectives. He explains that while some work, like a wiki on Muppets doesn’t have economic value, others, like a Zulu version of Wikipedia, might.