@CTIA: Hollywood meets Twitter and big brother on stage

**As published by RCR Wireless News** LAS VEGAS -– For the final keynote at CTIA, a Hollywood juggernaut met on stage with his counterpart in social media and the government’s lead technologist to discuss innovations to come and how common-good can be achieved with the most rudimentary and widely-available services already in play. With all mobile phones being “essentially Twitter-ready,” Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone said the ubiquity of SMS is “one of the things that has inspired us from the very beginning.” And Twitter has surely proven the power of the open exchange of information via the most basic of technologies. “That’s what we’re always thinking about. How can we take this low-tech and turn it into a network,” Stone said. “When a farmer in a rural village in a third-world nation can get even just the simplest of news over SMS … it can have a dramatic impact on that person’s life.”

It comes as no surprise to anyone here today, but it’s the simplicity and reach of Twitter that sets it apart. “The key thing is what exists already that we can leverage and create cool things on,” Stone said. “Our whole thing is the open exchange of information” to facilitate “a positive global impact,” Stone said. “It’s striking. Even early on when we started Twitter we had no idea how widely it would be used. … There’s some stuff going on here that we never expected.” When Stone noted how often protests get organized over Twitter, the moderator Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, anchor and reporter at CNBC, asked him it Twitter indeed had the power to topple a totalitarian regime. “I think you enable people to communicate openly and they’re capable of anything,” he said. Aneesh Chopra, CTO for the U.S. government, said the government’s role in all of this is to embrace innovation and technology in mobile and unlock the value it wants to achieve in education, energy, health care and other critical areas. Still, Chopra didn’t make it through the hour-long discussion without generating some not-so-subtle boos from the crowd and the typical political doublespeak he employed at times didn’t help his cause. Nonetheless, the greatest negative uproar from the audience came when he reiterated the government’s commitment to protecting intellectual property – a rather odd reaction from an industry that’s built much of its fortune on patented innovations. Chopra said the government’s spirit in all of this is to “embrace this innovation at the grass roots.” For example, by simply making the government’s huge archives of valuable data available in an open environment, it hopes entrepreneurs will take advantage of that information and put it into the hands of people on demand. He urged those in the audience to think about challenges that are facing the country and to brainstorm how they can be solved through collaboration. “Let’s work together on some things that will move the needle down the field,” he added. With the highest-grossing (and most pirated) film in history now under his belt, producer and director James Cameron made his case for 3D on smaller screens. The incredibly successful filmmaker said he believes 3D will “scale down to laptops and handheld devices” within five years. “My idea is let’s recreate the cinema experience in 3D,” Cameron said. “Be thinking about 3D apps, because this stuff is coming.” Cameron also touched on the opportunity he sees for startups in this space, adding that studios and networks aren’t ready and able to do what will be needed in short order. “It’s going to be smaller innovators that do this right” and enable content that’s best suited for these increasingly powerful platforms, he said. In a parting shot, when Caruso-Cabrera asked about Cameron’s reaction to not winning the Oscar for Avatar, in as cool a voice as possible, he said “I think if I had to choose between the trophy and $2.6 billion, I’d take the $2.6 billion.”

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