Will the Web Rule the World?
No sentient human would argue that the Web has not changed the world.
In the 22 years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World-Wide Web while at CERN, in Switzerland, every aspect of world society has felt its omnipresent impact.
But on June 9th, 2011, the 59th annual Bilderberg Meeting began in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and with it a fascinating new chapter in the web’s dominance.
The Bilderberg Group
According to Wikipedia, the Bilderberg Group is an annual, unofficial, invitation-only conference of approximately 140 guests, most of whom are people of influence in the fields of politics, banking, business, the military and news media.
The names of attendees are made available to the press, but the conferences are closed to the public and the media, and no press releases are issued.
Because of its exclusivity and privacy, the Bilderberg Group is frequently accused by conspiracy theorists from both extremes of the political spectrum of being an all-powerful secret society fixing the fate of the world behind closed doors.
The purpose of this article is not to weigh in on the controversy, but rather to note the highly unusual nature of this year’s meeting: The Guest List.
The Guest List
In years past, the guest list has read like a Who’s Who of the powerful, rich and famous.
Presidents, kings, queens, princes and prime ministers — titans of industry and banking — generals and tycoons — Harvard professors and Wall Street lawyers — all have been invited at one point or another. Ex-Presidents Clinton and Ford made the list once each. Ex-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, a perennial favorite, has attended on nine separate occasions including this year. Even Bill Gates was given an invite in 2010.
But what I find fascinating, is that of the twenty-nine United States attendees in 2011, five are from the Web.
At least according to the Bilderberg committee, 17% of the most powerful and influential Americans — those most likely to change the world — make their livings from an industry that didn’t even exist three decades ago.
Take a look at who is representing the Best and the Brightest of American business this year:
- Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.com
- Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn
- Chris R. Hughes, Co-founder of Facebook
- Craig J. Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer of Microsoft
- Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google
Perhaps by this time next year, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter will be invited. Let’s hope so.
Jot this down and place it in your briefcase. I certainly will. So that the next time a business owner suggests that what we do for a living is inconsequential or irrelevant, we can show conclusively — that the Web will one day rule the world.
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