Generation of Knowledge

Lila Tretikovge

Air Date: August 13, 2016

Lila Tretikov, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, talks about learning in the digital age.

HEFFNER: I’m Alexander Heffner, your host on The Open Mind. Two years ago we hosted Sue Gardner, then executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, which governs the modern-day Encyclopedia Britannica of Wikipedia. For her Reflections of a Wikimaniac, let me repeat what I said then about the enormous educational value of Wikipedia. It’s the world’s most-used and increasingly most reliable source of information. Or I would say one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Lila Tretikov, Gardner’s successor, who until this year directed the foundation, joins me today for what I imagine will be another scintillating exchange on the future of our information society. A young global leader of the World Economic Forum, Tretikov is a Russian-American engineer, managing specialized open source software and technology infrastructure. And I first want to ask Lila, whom we’re delighted to have here today, that same question I began with Sue Gardner. Is she as bullish about the web’s potential for social advancement in the public interest as when she first was tapped to lead Wikipedia?

TRETIKOV: I am extremely bullish as you have put it in uh, in a sense that I think we are at the front edge, we’re at the dawn of a new age, an intelligence age if you will, if you will. And I think Wikipedia is an extreme example of the representation of uh, of that phenomenon, you know, uh, the ability of society to create and distribute knowledge but also build on top of that. Um, I think the kind of advancements and uh, the kind of changes that we’re about to see in the next ten, twenty, thirty years are going to be unprecedented and they’re all going to be driven by our ability to be smarter and to learn more and to make that process more ubiquitous.

HEFFNER: We want there to be an informed artificial intelligence if there ever is an artificial intelligence, right? And I know that you are thinking, you’re marinating in the promise of artificial, but your work with Wikipedia was so important because that is really the foundation of knowledge with which we can inform decisions about innovation and the technological future that lies ahead, right?


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