Posts about gates

Davos07: Web 2.0hno

Another 2.0 panel in the world but a high-powered one: Bill Gates, YouTube’s Chat Hurley, Flickr’s Caterina Fake, Nike’s Mark Parker, EU Commiossioner of Information Society and Media Viviane Reding, Forbes’ Dennis Kneale, and moderator Peter Schwartz. Liveblogging in the style of David Weinberger (mix of quotes and paraphrasing). [A note from a half-hour in the future: In many ways, you'll find this panel retreading thanks to the moderator's wow-n-shucks elementary questioning; still, there are stars here.]

Hurley: Web 2.o is definitely a buzzword and it’s overused but the movement is just beginning and the movement is about tapping the power of people.

Fake: What we’re seeing is a return to the roots of the web. The web started with people communicating but in the early days we all had to be expert users. The web was distracted by web 1.0 commerce. Now the tools are easier. What the internet has alwas excelled at is connecting people to each other.

Gates: People always want some demarcation where this stopped and another began. Every year we just move to more of a digital environment and we take away the old methods. Once video gets on the internet the ability to see just the news you want, the ads are personalized, the education is interactive, it becomes very different from broadcast. The tools for people to do this are key here. We want every teacher and every student to have those tools. We need micropayments, better tools, 3D (why? he’s asked: “it turns out the world is in 3D”). I see nothing but an explosion in all this. If there’s any one thing that holds this back at all even in a smal way we need a digital rights model… causing people with content to hesitate to dive in completely, but he’s not saying that is going to stand in the way. He says we’re going to look at TV as it is today “and think it is a joke.”

Parker: It’s enabling a fundamental shift in power… to engage, to connect, to create, and do it on a scale we’ve never seen before. And that’s going to have so much ripple effect in ways we don’t even know.

Reding: Government hands off the internet, that is the first principle. Having said that, there are problems that need to be resolved. We need networls to be symmetrical and we need them to be open. She agrees that having a system of digital rights is going to be crucial for people to create and utilize content. We have all the rules in place for the old media. The new rules must lift the barriers on IPR. RIghts now are linked to national territory and we have to license for a virtual space, very soon. Many rightsholders for content, you cannot go global (because of the complication).

Kneale: At Forbes, the unofficial slogan is business good, government bad. But he challenges Reding on the European effort to create a search engine v. Google. [He's the challenger. The problem with that format is that we end up with two moderators. I want to hear more from the stars.]

Reding: The Europeans did not try to build something to compete with Google. That would be foolish. They were working on a multilingual search engine to give more people access.

Hurley: It’s changing the world because it’s giving everyone a voice… We’re not filtering what is entertaining, we created a platform for the people to say what’s entertaining to them.

Gates: Where was there a bust? He says everything about the internet grew and the net investment in the industry just continues to grow. But there is a little manic over here to the side valuing the things. The empowerment, the fun, the community, and this commercial thing of matching buyers and sellers as new revenue stream.

Schwartz to Hurley: Why are you worth $1.65 billion? [See what I mean about his questioning?}

Schwartz to Fake: Why aren’t you going to go the way of Ofoto?

Fake: It sounds very utopian.. everybody has a voice and all that stuff. But what’s very significant about these services is that they are organizing all this information for you in much the way that search did. You have a social network on Flickr and you will only see, if you want, the photos of the people you are interested in. We are getting almost two million photos uploaded a day and you don’t want to see all that. It’s the social interaction on these sites to discover the best content, to make the best content, to make it rise to the top.

Gates: This is taking all the power of the markets that exist and making them digital and more efficient. He uses Engadget as an example of a product that would not have been supportable in print.

Hurley: We’re creating a new marketing opportunity for the networks… We’re just concentrating on delivering short clips that promote long-form programming that you see on TV…. Working with Google, we’re going to be able to present very targeted advertising that just wasn’t available through traditional means.

Reding: (Asked whether Europe is as creative; where is the European YouTube or Flickr): She ignores that question and asks about individual rights: ‘the long tail of infamy… and what about privacy’? I hope that these problems can be solved by the community itself and so that it will not be built up into a major problem so politicians will have to join in.

Gates: If we call the next thing Web 3.0 that shows a lack of creativity in buzzwords. He talks about 3d and speech and we overthrow textbooks on paper and tv as a broadcast media and make buyers and sellers more and more efficient then we have to have some demarcation where we say wow.

I ask how this will fundamentally change society in a few years.

Gates: These are tools of empowerment and so in a sense these are not changing society…. Now whether or not that can let society do really new things. Can it revolutionize education as you get digital curriculum that is more engaging for students more based on their level? Can you get peoople who see a poor person 3000 miles away and they’re willing to give them a loan and they see their story and know they can connect. Do we weaken national boundaries and distance and lower them. Do we take complex topics and use the internet to let something like the craziiness of the budget or aid or the tax code not put people off. There is incredible promise in the two areas that are on the top of my list — education and health care — but that is ahead of us.

Reding: I am fascinated as a politician and worried at the same time. These are tools of transparency that will bring transparency to societys that are not transparent. We’ve really got a tool for democracy and a danger for nondemocratic states. So I think, yes, it is a step forward. But on the other hand, I am worried about the rights of the individual, not the society, but the individual also needs to be protected.

Question from the floor on net neutrality.

Reding: Europe is for net neutrality.

Gates: He says he and Craig Mundy came up with the term network neutrality to describe what the telecoms are up to. He also sees that places that are regulated are not building high bandwidth so we need a balance. Network neutrality really defines what fair behavior is if you’re the infrastructure owner. Gates explains to the Forbes guy that this is about monopoloy (and duopoly) structure.

Gates is asked what form digital rights will take: technical, legal, etc. The moderator has Hurley answer. He describes, as he did yesterday (on the video below) waht YouTube is working on. Gates says it’s solvable to make your content work across devices can be done. Making it work across manufacturers (“call it the iTunes problem”) is tricky but can be done. The moderator says he’s buying more music because of iTunes. Gates: “You are the one person who is buying more music.”

Reding: They issued a study yesterday that says in the next five years there will be a 400 percent increase in content on the internet but that is if we get the IPR problems solved. [I'd say it's bigger than that in any case!]

Fake: The reason YouTube grew faster than Revver is that they were not being paid to make video. The web has been founded on a culture of generosity and the motivations of people are very distinct from when people want to earn something. [I'd argue that one often follows the other but not always; it's about choice.]

Davos07: Gates, Wolfowitz, and the world

Next session is on scaling innovation in foreign aid with Bill Gates, Paul Wolfowitz, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman president elected in Africa, Bill Easterly ex of the World Bank, and Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, as moderator.

Gates says that the amount spent on invested in foreign aid over the last n years is equivalent to the amount invested by venture capital: about $500 billion. He talks about aid and charity from the perspective of investment. He says that that saved about 100 million lives and that works out to $23,000 per life. Is that a lot? We spend a lot more to save lives in the West, he says. He also says that revolutions save lives.

Wolfowitz says the VC model works in some areas but not others. He says a small percentage of that U.S. aid went to Mobutu in Zaire and did more than just failed as an investment; it destroyed the country. But education is an example of strong investment; he points to South Korea. He also says the best-practices of good use of aid is consistent with the VC model. Wolfowitz says there is good news in Africa that doesn’t make news: a third of countries with a third of the population growing economically at 4 percent a year, a rate Europe would envy. Zakaria adds that that’s because in part of of high commodity prices.

Easterly says that when VC companies screw up, they die. Aid agencies don’t die. He goes on to criticize aid effort.

Gates gives a wonderfully passionate screed against that, arguing that it is wrong to judge aid based on GDP. Saving lives may not raise GDP but Gates says that saving lives in itself is of value. Asked about a Foreign Affairs story that warned of attention going heavily to sexy diseases, Gates says he is delighted that these diseases have become sexy.