Saturday, February 03, 2007

Jimbo lives the "be good" ethic, it seems

Q. Will Wikipedia ever be sold to big media?

A. Two years after founding Wikipedia, I donated it to the WikiMedia foundation. I think this is both the dumbest and the smartest thing I ever did. The dumbest because it's probably worth $3 billion - and I don't have $3 billion! It's also the smartest thing I did because it wouldn't have been anywhere near so successful had I not built it this way. So the chances of it being bought are quite low.

Q. What happened with Wikipedia and China?

A. My understanding is that we are completely blocked there. We have no idea why. We can guess, but we don't know. Our position is that censorship is fundamentally at odds with everything our mission is about. Access to all knowledge is a human right, period. We won't ever compromise on censorship with filtered versions. It became all the more impossible for us once Google compromised last year, with its Chinese service weeding out pages critical of the government. I felt it incumbent on me to say: "No, we will not compromise on this issue." The deeper question we can't answer is: did they block us because they objected to our pages on politically sensitive issues, such as Falun Gong, or is there something fundamental about the idea of consumer-generated, open knowledge that is threatening to the Chinese system?

...Q. What else do you want Wikipedia to develop?

A. I read that one company is importing all of Wikipedia into its artificial intelligence projects. This means when the killer robots come, you'll have me to thank. At least they'll have a fine knowledge of Elizabethan poetry.

-- Jimmy Wales, creator of Wikipedia, responding to questions from Paul Marks in New Scientist ( Knowledge to the people)

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