Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Own Digital Jesus

In a recent talk on disruption, Fred Wilson, the successful and quite popular venture capitalist, speaks about how he and his venture capital firm evaluate whether an industry is a target for large-scale disruption due to the emergence of the Internet and other digital enablers. An oversimplified summary of his test is: If the industry can be digitized from end-to-end, then it will be at some point disrupted by the Internet. Some of his examples of current and future target sectors include media (which has already been heavily changed), consumer finance, education, energy, health care, and government.

I believe that religion could be added to that list. The mechanics of many mainstream religious activities could be theoretically digitized. With the proliferation of more immersive digital experiences (i.e. virtual worlds such a
Second Life), certain religious activities could soon be fully global across the Web and could be made to mimic significant portions of a live service within a digital place of worship. The ubiquity of mobile devices adds a whole new layer to the wider reach that religion could have - literally following worshipers at all time. It's difficult to imagine how or why this could be monetized, but such a trend would have direct consequences for numerous other industries and the world that we live in.


  1. it is a funny coincidence. a few weeks back the rabbi of our shul asked me to talk at "shabbat on tap" and i asked if you could have "an online minyan". the congregation wasn't really with me on that one.

  2. That's pretty funny :) How young is your congregation overall? I bet that someone growing up now (age 0 through 16), with the Internet as such a natural extension of their lives, will want their spirituality to fit right in with their online universe.