In the history of Western civilization, the coming of the internet can be compared to the invention of book-printing, revolutionizing the distribution and availability of knowledge. Knowledge can only develop further when shared, so after books were printed rather than copied by hand, a huge development in science and the arts followed. A similar development can be expected if the internet is used properly.
There are many moments in history where we see that developments in art and science follow a similar pattern, corresponding to the psyche of the time. E.g. after it was generally accepted that the earth was round instead of flat, an answer came necessarily from both the arts and science. In science, Sir Isaac Newton's gravitational theory comforted people, explained why they did not fall of this globe. In music especially, roots were given to the harmony, fundamentals were being composed for the first time, chords as we know them now were invented, and music changed completely within 5 years (around 1600 AD). There are many more such parallels, which i intend to go deeper into in the course of my talk.
With the coming of Wikipedia and its related projects, a similar revolution is becoming possible as was provoked by d'alambert and diderots encyclopedie, this meant the beginning of the period of enlightenment, arts, philosophy, science and society underwent great changes as a result.
The mediawiki-software as used in the Wikimedia projects changes completely the perception of the internet, not only through the use of the "edit" button. We are in my opinion at a crucial point, even in the development of mankind, as it is now for the first time in our history really becoming possible to share knowlegde on a worldwide scale, between the different cultures, nations and languages. I see this as a unique opportunity to show our worth and set an example of people working together on a global scale, creating the biggest compilation of knowledge that ever existed. Let it inspire us to the necessary responsibility this implies.