CAN THIS MOVE FORWARD?
Right now, we need society to figure out how to create a national digital library. If we can succeed at that, my opinion is it will be much better to have it done as a national project in the public interest rather than as an accident of litigation, which is what the Google case was. It would have been quicker had the Google settlement stood up because Google has digitized the books. The national approach requires involvement by Congress, and at the moment Congress looks entirely dysfunctional.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON AOL AND ITS RECENT ACQUISITION OF THE HUFFINGTON POST?
AOL has lasted longer than many people imagined . . . As for Huffington, they're an aggregator. I know they're starting to have what they call editors and reporters, but I don't think anybody would disagree that mostly what they do is re-package news that has been gathered by more traditional sources.
THE INFORMATION REVOLUTION HAS CREATED THE ILLUSION THAT INFORMATION IS FREE. DO YOU THINK THAT THE MOVE BY THE NEW YORK TIMES TO CREATE A PAY WALL, TO START CHARGING FOR ONLINE ACCESS, WILL SUCCEED?
I hope and pray that it's going to succeed. I'm not just speaking as someone who used to work at the Times. We are all — every one of us — going to find our knowledge and abilities seriously diminished if organizations like the New York Times vanish. I hope they can find a way to make the economics work. I don't see why it shouldn't work. I'm willing to pay. And it's part of what we're talking about when we talk about searching and filtering. That's what the New York Times does, too. The Times sends people out to gather information; they make intelligent, authoritative choices about what is important to convey to readers and citizens. And they do that in contrast to the way Google does it with algorithms taking advantage of crowd-sourced knowledge. The New York Times does it, at least has traditionally done it, through the knowledge and experience of individual humans. I think there's a role for both of these things, Google and the Times — I don't think we can get by with one without the other. . . . If my book has a final point, that's it. There's as much of a need today for individual creativity and knowledge as there ever has been.
Peter Kadzis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kadzis.