Mark Zuckerberg gingerly flipped the page from 2018 to 2019 on Tuesday with a progressive and forward looking blog post – as if his company’s ongoing data scandals didn’t just shave off 25% of his company’s market cap over the last year.
The Facebook CEO posted a plucky “personal challenge” for the new year – committing to “host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society — the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties,” which he will accomplish by speaking with “leaders, experts and people in our community from different fields” every few weeks.
In prior years, Zuckerberg has made resolutions to build an artificial intelligence system for his home, learn Mandarin and visit every state in the US. For 2018, Zuckerberg said he would fix Facebook.
This year, Zuck is focused on the big picture!
In his blog post, Zuck writes:
There are so many big questions about the world we want to live in and technology’s place in it. Do we want technology to keep giving more people a voice, or will traditional gatekeepers control what ideas can be expressed? Should we decentralize authority through encryption or other means to put more power in people’s hands? In a world where many physical communities are weakening, what role can the internet play in strengthening our social fabric? How do we build an internet that helps people come together to address the world’s biggest problems that require global-scale collaboration? How do we build technology that creates more jobs rather than just building AI to automate things people do? What form will this all take now that the smartphone is mature? And how do we keep up the pace of scientific and technological progress across fields?
“Should Facebook stop an orgy of tech companies from harvesting and then selling user data without permission?” is notably absent.
“I’m an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they’d mostly speak for themselves,” writes Zuckerberg. “But given the importance of what we do, that doesn’t cut it anymore. 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.”
What a guy!