IT'S PROBABLY SAFE to say Facebook bossman Mark Zuckerberg didn't have the greatest year in 2018, what with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and all, but he now wants to turn that frown upside down.
The Zuck revealed on Facebook that he's planning a bout of public discussions on the role technology will play in the future of society.
"My challenge for 2019 is to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society -- the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties. Every few weeks I'll talk with leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields and I'll try different formats to keep it interesting. These will all be public, either on my Facebook or Instagram pages or on other media," Zuck said, presumably while perusing his list of New Year's resolutions.
Zuckerberg wants to figure out answers to questions such as "should we decentralise authority through encryption or other means to put more power in people's hands?", "how do we build an internet that helps people come together to address the world's biggest problems that require global-scale collaboration?" and "how do we build technology that creates more jobs rather than just building AI to automate things people do?".
All good questions and ones that Zuck reckons will be part of a personal challenge for him to get involved with.
"I'm an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they'd mostly speak for themselves. But given the importance of what we do, that doesn't cut it anymore," he said. "So I'm going to put myself out there more than I've been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go."
It seems a tad ironic that Zuckerberg is willing to say he's keen to put himself out there given he wasn't willing to attend a hearing held by UK and Canadian MPs looking at how Facebook handles things like data collection and privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytic scandal. Though we suspect Zuck has had his fill of such probing, having faced questions from both US senators and the European Parliament.
Given Facebook as more than 1.5 billion people on its platform, Zuckerberg is arguably well placed to discuss tech and society. But Facebook's rocky 2018, raises the question as to whether Zuck would be better off rebuilding some of the trust people have lost in Facebook.
Then again, Zuck is a billionaire and Facebook is still ticking along nicely, so we guess he can do what the heck he wants. µ
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