Ashton Kutcher

The actor, investor and first person to hit 1 million Twitter followers weighs in on the industry at CTIA

Turns out that Ashton Kutcher has a lot of the same problems you do. Twitter is too noisy. International roaming plans are expensive. Facebook, while great, has maybe become a bit overgrown.

Sound familiar?

The actor and investor sat down for a fireside chat today at CTIA in Las Vegas and had more than a few choice words for the mobile industry, and chances are you've heard a good many of them before -- and said them yourself. Things were a little winding, with moderator Julia Boorstin of CNBC keeping things moving, and nobody's breaking any real ground here. But it was an interesting chat from someone who's very much been at the forefront of the social revolution, for better or worse.

Ashton Kutcher

'The new religion is Facebook' 

Best line of the talk. See if you can follow this one. Facebook connects friends of friends. Back in the day, from the first civilizations on, religion was the tie that binds. You worship the same tree as I do, so you must be OK. Down with the same deity as me? Come on in. You're a Christian, I'm a Christian, so it's cool.

So the new religion is Facebook. You're a friend of my friend, so I should be able to trust you. Never mind just how bad an idea that really is -- you get the idea. We have services now like Air BNB. There's a great deal of trust there. And services where you can loan out your car to a total stranger.

But at the same time, Kutcher lamented how Facebook, for as great as it is for what it does, may have grown a too big for some purposes. Not everybody on Facebook needs to know where you are, what you're doing, and what photos you're taking.

That has a lot to do with Facebook's filtering and group controls. They're there, but they're not great. I'd argue that Google+ does these things pretty well. But for Kutcher, that's where more niche apps come in.

Ashton Kutcher

So what does Kelso use?

Where Facebook is bloated, apps like Path and Couple come in. If you're unfamiliar, Path is sort of like a smaller version of Facebook (that's way oversimplified), and it's got a gorgeous user interface. It's also been plagued with more than its share of privacy issues. Couple is more one-on-on sharing for that special person in your life. Or the next special person in your life.

For media, Kutcher is a Spotifiy guy, with Flipboard for consuming news. And, of course, there's Facebook and Twitter.

On Twitter: 'Media fucked it up'

You can kind of read into this two ways. At least I did.

"Twitter's experience has changed for me pretty drastically," Kutcher said. "It used to be more personal for me. But I think, for lack of a better verb, media kind of fucked it up."

Now I'd argue that a celebrity's definition of "personal" might be different than mine, especially when you remember that Kutcher was the first to hit 1 million Twitter followers. That doesn't happen by being a hermit, and Kutcher hardly is the only celeb to maybe overshare on Twitter, only to have the media beat it to death. (And lord knows those of us who type for a living have our own skeletons.) But talk quickly turned to just how noisy Twitter has become.

"Media companies came in and pounced on it. The signal to noise ratio kind of stinks, and it's companies selling me shit that I don't want.

"Maybe I need to go and curate my feed a little better."

Guilty. As the guy in charge getting people to read this little site, I'll take full responsibility for adding some noise to Twitter. But that's what Twitter wants. It's what it's counting on. Can you even watch a TV show today without seeing a Twitter reference? What about watching the news? A movie trailer? It's impossible, and Kutcher knows it, and knows that he's as much a part of that noise (more so, of course) as anybody.

"And I'm bad about it, too. I have a movie coming out? Don't think I'm not posting it on Twitter. But I need to make it more curated for me."

But Kutcher's optimistic.

"The bigger vision for Twitter when Jack [Dorsey] created it (and I don't wanna put words in his mouth) was to empower intelligences from a community standpoint ... that was high value signal to noise. I think it'll get better."

Ashton Kutcher

The second screen - we're doing it backward

Talk turned to using mobile devices as the "second screen" when watching TV or movies. And Kutcher thinks it's being done backward. Your mobile device should be firing content off to the big screen, not distracting from it. That said, he also questioned why Hollywood hasn't made mobile devices a part of the viewing experience in theaters. I'm not sure I want to spend $11 or whatever to be in a room full of folks on their phones, but I get the idea.

On streaming video​: 'Why are people putting their dicks on it?'

Yep. The minute you give someone a webcam and a live feed, a penis will appear. Welcome to the Internet. "Thank God UStream created a flesh-detecting system," Kutcher said. "People are dumb."

I agree. Keep it in your pants, gents.

Ashton Kutcher

Roaming and VOIP (Aka welcome back to the 99 percent)

Kutcher will be the first to admit he's not exactly strapped, financially speaking, but it's absolutely correct when he complaint about the cost and speed of data, roaming data internationally, and how Wifi and VOIP should be top priorities for wireless operators. That's something we hear a lot about from the operators at this sort of event. Every. Single. Year. 

Get the full rundown in our liveblog

These are but a few choice snippets. Yes, penises and expletives and all. Be sure to hit up our archived liveblog for more pictures and the full talk.


Reader comments

The Ashton Kutcher recap: On Twitter, streaming dicks and the future of mobile


As a Gazillionaire he's worried about international roaming rates?

Crap, how is anyone else supposed to pay them, if he can't afford them?

He seems honest. Like Phil said in the article, he was the first people to reach 1 million followers. He did it by being honest and talking about things like a normal human. He didn't have a lot of stuff going on publicly so he used Twitter talk about the nonsense in his life. People relate to him. He is just as worried about roaming costs as you are. That's relate about. Also the characters he plays are usually genuine and honest, and usually funny. People relate to those things. He comes off as the guy you want to know. I followed the live blog and the whole time I was thinking, "Damn, I would love to go get drinks with him and see what he really thinks about things."

Kelso was an epic tool. One of the best ever and That 70's Show kicked ass. Nobody said he was Olivier or Bobby Duvall but who is?

Oh Yeah! He's also banging Mila Kunis and you aren't. He wins. Everything.

Most (far too many) actors are pretty one dimensional, and what you see is pretty close to who they actually are. Really good actors can have you hating them in one role and loving them in the next and you don't actually see their personality at all.

As for Kutcher, since I find him kind of a twit in every thing I've seen him in, I suspect he falls into the former category.

Actors that don't play parts that are variations of their own persona are rare. The only one that comes immediately to mind is Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I'm sure there are others. On the female side, there's of course Meryl Streep.

Even great actors like Kevin Spacey are not immune to pigeonholing. When's the last time he's played a character that wasn't sardonic and possessing a razor-sharp wit? Could Tom Hanks play a really bad guy? Once you become an actor that is successful above a certain level, the studios only want you to play versions of yourself because they perceive that's what the audience wants.

By the way, Kutcher always plays dim bulbs but based on his bio, he's actually really smart. I've known a few people in my time personally that had a fierce intelligence hiding behind a surfer dude voice.

First person to hit a million followers. Gangnam Style was first to a billion views. I guess Psy speaks tomorrow?

I love Ashton, his viewed for being a knob, but thats the 1% WE ALL ARE AT TIMES. He seems honest which is great. Other celebs which everyone loves probably just acts loveable.

ok, but is he not right in that phat sites like facebook are just too hi maintenance, twitter - gotta get what you'e saying across succinctly, maybe in text language, but still can't gammer forever

I don't watch TV or use Twitter, can someone explain to me who that is talking to the gorgeous redhead? Was he married to Demi Moore a while back?

Having enough money to "matter" to tech startups did not make him smart. He needs to stick to Twitter and skip the interviews. What a joke for the conference organizers.

Why are we listening to Ashton Kutcher again ? What the hell does he know about technology apart from being a rich user of such things - KELSO IS AN IDIOT.