Google and the World Brain (2013) Movie Script

There is no practical obstacle
whatever now
to the creation of an efficient index
to all human knowledge,
ideas and achievements.
To the creation, that is,
of a complete planetary
memory for all mankind.
He was one of the early inventors
of science fiction.
The idea of time travel,
the possibility of invisibility...
..of intergalactic struggles.
And then, he came up with ideas
of how we might reorganize the
knowledge apparatus of the world,
which he called the World Brain.
For Wells, the World Brain
had to contain
all that was learnt and known
and that was being learnt and known.
If you have access to anything
that's been written,
not just theoretical access,
but like instant access
next to your brain,
that changes your idea
of who you are.
It can be reproduced exactly
and fully in Peru, China, Iceland,
Central Africa or wherever else.
They were frank in their ambition
and dazzling in their ability
to execute it.
The Google Books scanning project
is clearly the most ambitious
World Brain scheme
that has ever been invented.
This is no remote dream, no fantasy.
It is a plain statement
of a contemporary state of affairs.
The nightmare scenario,
in 20 years' time,
would be Google tracking
everything we read.
Google could basically hold
the whole world hostage.
Ever since Wells,
science fiction is always
about the possibility
that people won't really matter
in the future.
And the plot is always
about some heroic person
that either succeeds
or doesn't succeed
in proving that people really matter
after all.
It's a library, a public library,
where people go to look at books,
and read them and take them away.
That girl works at the library
and she checks on books
that are going out
and books that are coming back in.
I love libraries.
I like the smell,
the smell of paper
properly preserved.
It's as if it's the smell
of a hay barn
that's been cleared
of all its animals
and made into a human intelligence.
And in a library, you really...even
if you're sitting in the tearoom,
discussing your latest findings,
it's amazing how much social
interaction with other people
will actually help you
to enrich what you're doing.
'In this part of the library,
'the grown-ups can read
the stories to the children.'
People sometimes say to me,
aren't libraries obsolete?
Um... It's... It's absurd -
they are nerve centres,
centres of intellectual energy.
Libraries stand for an ideal,
which is an educated public.
And to the degree that knowledge
is power,
they also stand there for the idea
that power should be disseminated
and not centralised.
The first appeal of Google's
when we saw it, was just digitising
millions and millions of books.
At Harvard, we have, by far,
the greatest university library
in the world.
It's enormous - 17 million volumes.
And every library wants
its holdings digitised
for lots for reasons,
including preservation.
But, beyond that,
it raises the possibility
of sharing your intellectual wealth.
I think of the Harvard Library
as an international asset.
Something that should be opened up
and shared with the general
So here comes Google.
They've got the energy,
they've got the technology,
they've got the money and they said,
"We'll do it for you. Free!"
Google did such a fabulous job
in creating a vision,
not only that a universal digital
library could be created,
but that it could be done today.
The Google engineers are
like good engineers everywhere,
they just like to think about,
"How do we surmount
these challenges?"
They sort of leave the lawsuit
to the lawyers to worry about.
Google's a company that believes
in its fundamental mission
of empowering everyone in this world
with all the information they need.
Enriched with the right information,
people can make better decisions
for themselves,
their families and their communities.
This world is full
of wonderful individuals
which have varied needs.
From a farmer in Africa
to a mother in India,
to a business person in Japan.
Everyone needs information
in this modern day and age.
And Google believes
in breaking all the barriers
between every individual
and the information they seek.
When you actually negotiate
with Google
and do so on their turf,
you enter a strange world.
A Google office doesn't have chairs
like this chair,
the furniture consists
of large inflated balls
that are coloured green
or red or yellow
and the young Google engineers
are sitting on these.
It's a kind of Never Never Land
About ten years ago, I got a visit
from a vice president of Google.
And she walked into my office
and described a project
that Google had in mind,
which was to digitise
all the books in
the Harvard Library.
My first thought was,
to put it bluntly,
that maybe they were smoking
something, because I didn't think
it was possible.
Harvard had been digitising books
from time to time,
but they were very limited
in number and we didn't do many,
it was a very expensive
and complicated project.
I don't remember exactly,
but it was several hundred dollars
just for a single book.
But they had invented
a copying station
that was a lot cheaper
and easier to use,
that didn't damage the books
or, at least, went out of its way
not to damage the books.
And it seemed to me
that it had a lot of plausibility.
And so, we decided to...
to give it a try.
Every great library did digitising,
sometimes on a large scale,
our Open Collections Programme
digitised 2.3 million pages.
I mean, that's big.
But nothing like as big
as what Google attempted to do.
The sheer ambition
of digitising everything.
In the ancient world,
at the Library of Alexandria,
they copied rolls and tablets,
and attempted to copy
all that was known.
And, eventually, the library
was destroyed by Julius Caesar
and the loss of that library
in Alexandria
was an international catastrophe.
The universal library's been
talked about for millennia.
There's a kind of a continuity
of development
and, you know, we mustn't forget
the important role
that libraries and scholars
have always made
for millennia of copying.
And then, you see,
with the development of printing,
the multiplicity of texts,
the copying of original texts.
It was possible to think
in the Renaissance
that you might be able to amass
the whole of published knowledge
in a single room
or a single institution.
Then, in the 19th century,
you have various suggestions
in France and Belgium
that you can create
a catalogue of everything.
What will come next is microfilm.
And so, you start finding
huge microfilming projects.
And so, for us, the Google Project
was a sort of a natural extension
of that process of development.
Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart,
was the first digital library.
He started on the fourth of July,
in early 1970s,
by going and typing
the Declaration of Independence
so that everybody
could have access to it.
Thousands of volunteers worked
from all over the world
to go and build this.
He even had the idea
that it ought to be possible
to download the entire library that
he had created if you wanted that.
And I think it did act as a kind
of example of something
that, later on, Google and others
took up in a much bigger,
more extensive way.
My name is Raymond Kurzweil
and I'm from Queens, New York.
'When I was 12, I became fascinated
with pattern recognition.'
And, as a young teenager,
I did a project to teach computers
how to recognise patterns in music.
I've built a computer
and, by feeding it certain
relationships and music,
I was able to write music with it.
Raymond, how old are you? I'm 17.
Do your parents know
what you've been up to?
Recognising printed letters
was a classical unsolved problem
in the field of pattern recognition.
And so, I created the first
omni-font optical character
This was about 1975.
1978, we developed
a commercial version.
And we talked about how you could
ultimately scan all books
and all printed material.
'When automobiles came along first,
'they seemed likely to become
a rich man's monopoly.
'They cost upward
of a thousand pounds.
'Henry Ford altered all that.
'He put the poor man on the road.
'We want a Henry Ford today
'to modernise the distribution
of knowledge,
'make good knowledge cheap and easy,
'in this still very ignorant,
'ill-served English-speaking world
of ours,
'which might be the greatest power
on Earth for the good of mankind.'
We started the Internet Archive
in 1996.
The idea was to have all
the published works of humankind
available to everybody,
that this was the opportunity
of our generation, the previous generation
had put a man on the moon.
The Internet Archive had been
completely open with Google.
In fact, I'd gone and given
a speech that was attended
by, I think, all of the senior
on how one could go about
building a digital library
of all books, music, video,
and I'd hoped that there was going
to be a way to work with them,
but that was not to be.
Libraries had signed secret
agreements with Google...
We didn't know what
was really going on.
When it started coming out
as a completely separate project,
and not working with others,
then, I started
to become suspicious.
Larry Page,
who founded Google with me,
first proposed that we digitise
all books a decade ago,
when we were a fledgling start-up.
Five years later, in 2004,
Google Books was born.
Despite a number of important
digitisation efforts to date,
none have been at a comparable scale,
simply because no-one else has chosen
to invest the requisite resources.
If Google Books is successful,
others will follow.
I don't think that Google is aware
of the fact that it's a corporation.
I think Google does think
of itself as an NGO
that just happens
to make a lot of money.
And they think of themselves
as social reformers
who just happen to have their stock
traded on stock exchanges
and who just happen to have
investors and shareholders,
but they do think of themselves
as ultimately being in the business
of making the world better.
There are few more irreparable
property losses
than vanished books.
Nature, politics and war
have always been
the mortal enemies of written works.
Most recently, Hurricane Katrina
dealt a blow
to the libraries of the Gulf Coast.
At Tulane University, the main
library sat in nine feet of water.
In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime,
in Cambodia,
decimated cultural institutions
throughout the country.
Khmer Rouge fighters took over
the National Library
throwing the books into the street,
burning them,
while using the stacks as a pigsty.
Now, with Google, the University
of Michigan is involved
in one of the most extensive
preservation projects
in world history.
Google Books is a potent idea
on a number of dimensions.
What I like about Google Books
is the idea of not losing books,
especially books that might be
genuinely abandoned.
The idea of getting
all that stuff online
is, of course,
going to be a benefit,
so that, we have to love.
I went to Google in January 2003.
I actually made, what now I feel
quite embarrassed about,
I made a presentation to them,
telling them what they ought
to be doing.
Only to find out a few months later
that they'd actually been doing it
for a while already.
Project Ocean was the kind of
code name, development code name,
that Google were giving to what
eventually became Google Books.
So it was called Project Ocean
because it was big, I imagine.
Google seemed to think
that they could do
almost a million in three years.
You could say that this mass
is something like running
a huge machine through a library.
You take books by the shelf.
They are put in cartons, on carts.
They are loaded onto trucks.
And then, Google at this time
had three places in the country
where it was doing digitisation.
Supposedly, it didn't give
the address of where they were.
Google won't say how much
scanning all the books cost.
But there are estimates that...
well, it's somewhere between
$30 and $100 per book,
so if you multiply that times
20 million...
Google, early on,
bent over backwards to keep us
from communicating
with the other libraries.
There were three or four large ones
and each of us was told
we should not tell the others
what kind of a contract we had
and how we were working with Google.
To begin with, it had
to be kept fairly quiet.
It was probably mid 2003 when
I started to take the wraps off
in terms of this is going
to be a possibility
that we might be working with Google.
I witnessed the scale of the
operation and it was very impressive.
20 very large work stations
with very high-resolution cameras
sitting on top of a cradle
with very intense lights.
And, underneath, a lot of black
boxes, which, presumably,
contained all of Google's algorithms
that makes Google search what it is.
And they uploaded that stuff
straight to Mountain View,
straight from Oxford.
Google certainly depends on knowing
more and more and more
for their algorithm to be better
and better and better.
And this is the core of the way
economics in this space now works.
They had a specific interest
in having lots of things in Google
that would lead people to use Google
so they could make money
by having advertisements there.
What are books?
They are full of data
and so, the more data you have,
the more you can fine-tune
your search technologies.
Some of the enthusiasts for Google's
way of gathering data,
and it's not just Google at all,
I mean,
it's Silicon Valley in general.
It's the current cultural moment
and includes the other
Silicon Valley companies,
but also the modern world of finance.
And also, the modern world
of spy craft for states
and also the modern world
of criminality.
And the modern world of insurance
and health care.
All these things have this idea
that you grab all this data
in order to become very powerful,
you create a differential
in your ability to see information
versus the ordinary person.
And you create these new incredible
castles of power,
but it's OK, it's not just
traditional power mongering,
because you're making the world
more efficient.
I was a little boy in the '70s
growing up in India,
watching re-runs of Star Trek
on our family's black-and-white TV.
And from that, those times,
the picture of a Star Trek computer
was deeply ingrained in my head.
As a little boy, I
was just fascinated by the fact
that you can walk up to a computer
and ask it,
"Computer, what's the atmosphere
of that planet?"
That was just the most fascinating
thing to a little boy
and, from that day on,
it was my dream to build
that Star Trek computer.
Only later would I grow up
and realise it's really hard,
because computers
don't understand language.
And I went through this brief period
of disbelief as a graduate student,
where I didn't think I would reach
my dream in my lifetime.
But thanks to Google
and all the technologies
that we have built here,
and what I see in the pipeline,
I'm closer to my dream than ever.
Google were and are free to do
what they want with the scans.
And why should that concern us?
I mean, part of our ethos
and part of our objective
as a library
is to make the information that's
contained in our library available
as free of charge as we can possibly
make it to anybody who needs it.
And if Google is going to do that
on a larger scale, that's fine.
If they are going to make money
out of it down the line, why not?
You know, they've invested
a lot of money in it.
Um... There's no such thing
as a free lunch.
Who wouldn't want to have all
of the world's knowledge available
to everyone on the planet?
The problem is that Google,
as an intermediary in this process,
has certain interests
and has a certain agenda
that is not always transparent.
If you, in Silicon Valley,
you have another job,
which is you're building
this new life form
that's going to take over the world
and Google is providing
the memories for its brain
or the other companies
are providing the memories,
and this is something
that's openly talked about.
It's all human knowledge
in books and out of books
woven together
into a single entity
that's accessible by anybody,
anywhere in the world, any time.
And that "all knowledge"
is transformative.
It really kicks up the civilisation
in our society into another level.
Shortly after the launch
of Google Books,
in different events, I ran
into Larry Page and Sergey Brin
and had this brief exchange
with them about the potential.
And, you know,
there was a characteristic
Google-founder response,
which was a kind of glint
in their eyes and a smile
and the sense that this was
just the beginning
of something much bigger than even
you at this point can imagine.
At Harvard, we only permitted Google
to digitise books
in the public domain,
but the other research libraries
that Google first went to
permitted Google to digitise books
covered by copyright.
As soon as you get
into the copyright area,
things get rapidly complicated.
We're allowing Google
to scan all of our books,
those in the public domain
and those still in copyright.
We believe it is legal,
ethical and a noble endeavour
that will transform our society.
Legal because we believe
copyright law allows us fair use
of the millions of books
that are being digitised.
Fair use is a piece of American
copyright law that allows us
to make copies without
ever asking any permission,
without paying any fee
for certain carved-out uses.
I happen to think Google's
fair use defence is strong.
One of the things that courts
have done,
over the last decade or so,
is decided that search engines,
who routinely make copies
of information,
are making fair uses when they do it
in order to help people
find information
that they are looking for.
One of the things Google
has done is provide links
to places where you can
buy the book.
They scanned, but they did not
release the copy.
You could not search,
except for key words.
You could not see a page,
except for snippets.
They were trying to allow
indexing and searching,
without allowing people
to get copies.
And we will protect
all copyrighted materials,
your work in that archive.
Let me repeat that.
I guarantee you we will protect
all copyrighted materials.
I assure you we understand
that providing public access
to materials and copyright,
particularly those still in print,
would be unlawful.
One of the things that you need
to understand about Google
is that they try to roll out
projects first
and then, to think about
the consequences later.
So you will often see them experiment
with something that looks very cool,
maybe the Google Street View
Google launched Street View in 2007,
part of the search engine's
long-term goal
to create a virtual
3D map of the whole planet,
right down to street level.
But investigations have revealed
that Google Street View cars
were collecting more than just
photographs for their databanks.
Their antennas were also hoovering
up personal information
from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks,
including Internet history
and passwords.
I think the case of Google
collecting Wi-Fi information,
it reveals a complete lack of respect
for privacy within the corporation.
Such projects often reveal that
Google does not fully understand
the social consequences
of its own work.
We actually do more search
queries in China alone
than any other search company does
in any other single-national market,
by which I really mean
Google in the United States.
So we certainly do aspire
to be a World Brain.
I think HG Wells was, I mean,
he is well known for having been
quite prescient
about a lot of the things
that he envisaged.
Sure we don't have
the time machine yet,
but pretty much the rest of it
was dead on.
We have a product, which is a very,
very popular product,
it's called Baidu Wenku,
the Chinese name of it
is the Baidu Library.
It allows people to upload
materials that they have
that are either
of their own creation,
or that they have the intellectual
property rights to, to our site.
There isn't an area
of human knowledge
that hasn't been filled out
and made more rich and wondrous
by the fact of the Internet.
I am often sort of shocked
by people who see it
as the beginnings
of this dystopian future.
I embrace it unequivocally.
The Fundamental Knowledge System
which accumulates, sorts,
keeps in order
and renders available
everything that is known
centres on Barcelona.
With its 17 million active workers,
it is the Memory Of Mankind.
You can look at the Internet
as something divine.
We eventually will come, I think,
to revere some of our
technological creations,
like the Internet,
to be almost like cathedrals
of redwoods,
to be as complicated
and as beautiful
as natural creations.
And that, in a real sense,
that there is more of God
in a cellphone
than there is in a tree frog,
because a cellphone is
an additional layer of evolution
over the natural frog.
It's a new form of medieval church
or something like that.
Everybody is to give their data
in service of worship
of this digital god.
And I think it's really,
really dumb.
It's not unique to this era,
you can look at previous
technologies, whether it was radio,
whether it was television,
whether it was the telegraph,
it was electricity,
you do have many similar hopes -
that those technologies will bring
universal communication,
people will talk to one another,
there will be peace everywhere,
education will spread globally...
A lot of similar hopes
have been expressed
in connection with earlier
So this is nothing new, but I think
there is something about the scale
at which projects and groups and
various companies and organisations
now are putting those cyber-utopian
beliefs to work
that is different now
than from what it was before.
Science fiction never imagined
Google is a game-changing tool
on the order of the equally handy
flint hand axe.
But Google is not ours.
We are its unpaid content providers,
in one way or another.
We generate product for Google,
our every search a miniscule
Google is made of us,
a sort of coral reef of human minds
and their products.
We have yet to take
Google's measure.
I do think that Google genuinely
wants to make all of the world's
information organised and available
to people throughout the globe.
I do think that they genuinely
believe in that mission.
Um... But they also happen to believe
that nothing will get lost
and no-one will get harmed
if it's Google who will implement
that mission.
And I think it's normal.
If they didn't trust themselves
to do it, then they would be...
you know, they would have some
weird schizophrenic problem,
you know, if they don't trust
to implement their own project.
One of the concerns which came out,
as you would expect from France,
was that this was really
part of a plot
in the United States to make English
the universal language
and, as we know, the most important
thing about France,
aside from its wine,
is its language.
And there was a real sense
that who are we to be digitising
all those books in English?
And I remember some correspondence
about the fact
that we, at Harvard, were not
just digitising English books,
but were digitising a very large
number of books in French.
To which, if I remember correctly,
the response came back,
"Who are you to digitise
books in French?"
First, we learned that Google
was scanning books.
And I remember loving that idea,
because I'm a reader and I write
non-fiction books and I do research
and I wanted access to those books.
Then, we heard that they were
scanning our books,
they were scanning copyrighted books
and they hadn't asked
anyone's permission.
The libraries had just
handed them over.
Well, that was obviously a
violation of our copyrights
and a little bit of a surprise,
to put it mildly.
I remember being very curious
about what they were doing
and I popped my name into Google
and saw that it came up
with snippets of my books.
So what I did was
I searched for terms
that I knew were common in my book,
like "star", "galaxy",
and there were lots and lots of hits
and it would display
several snippets.
And then, I would search
for other common words
and it was clear that if you were
clever about your searches,
you could see quite a bit
of the text, if not all of it.
The problem that most authors have
is obscurity.
That's the issue.
There are a gazillion books.
How do you get people
to pay attention to yours?
Google claimed that its use of these
millions of copyrighted books
that it had digitised
was an example of fair use.
Why? I'm not sure.
I still don't understand
how that can be justified.
The point is that the entire book
has been copied
and it's been copied by a single
company that's doing it for purposes
of profiting off the work.
If you allow a profit-making company
to copy a million books,
then, how can you say no
to the next enterprise
that also wants to copy
the million books?
So The Authors Guild organised
a class action suit,
asking them to stop doing that.
The Authors Guild on Tuesday filed a
lawsuit against search engine Google
alleging that scanning
and digitising library books
constitutes a massive copyright
The Authors Guild represents
more than 8,000 authors
and it's the largest society
of published writers
in the United States.
When Google made its decision
to scan these millions of books,
it certainly realised that, depending
upon how litigation developed,
this could be a bet-the-company
Because copyright liability in the
United States can be quite extreme -
$150,000 per copyrighted work.
And, depending on the number
of copyrighted works at stake,
it could be in the billions
of dollars.
The Association of American
has filed a lawsuit against Google
alleging the Internet company's
plan to scan
and digitally distribute the text
of major library collections
would violate copyright protections.
I think the issue of copyright
is an archaic, unproductive view.
When you create something,
you're building on the work
of other people,
no matter who you are,
whether you are JK Rowling
or Shakespeare.
You're basing your work
on the work of others.
You're basically taking their ideas.
An artist does not own their ideas.
No artist does.
Any useful information exists
because of the efforts of real people
and copyright is our way of
remembering who those people are.
It's crucial to not lose that.
And I think cyber culture is missing
the point of copyright.
You might say, "Well,
who cares about authors?
"Let a few authors not make as much
money as they would have."
But it's a precedent.
The whole Internet will become
a tool for the concentration of
power and that would be a disaster.
The Internet is the world's largest
copy machine,
anything that touches it,
it's been copied.
And, just to transmit something
along the way,
um...people are making copies
of things.
Copies are valueless,
they have no worth at all
until there was a focus on copies
because that's an industrial-age
A book is really a plateau
that a person reaches to say,
"This is my testament,
this is what I can offer."
A book is not just
an extra long tweet,
a book is something
that's hard to do.
It's hard to finish.
It's hard to publish.
It's a certain achievement of scale,
it's a declaration of this is
what my life has learned,
this is what I can offer.
And that is not something
that can be dissected
and the little minced pieces
simply can't mean the same thing.
The lawsuits were commenced
in the fall of 2005
and, within six months,
The Authors Guild and the publishers
came to Google
with a proposal about
settling the lawsuit.
I was sitting innocently in my office
and a lawyer for the university
appeared and he said,
"You are about to take
a non-disclosure oath."
Well, I'd never had anything
to do with lawyers,
except once in my life
when I made a will and I thought,
"Um, I'm in deep water now.
What is this all about?"
Well, it turned out that
there were secret negotiations
between Google, on the one hand,
and The Authors Guild and The
Association of American Publishers
on the other.
They were suing Google
for infringement of copyright
and, as happens frequently
with suits,
they began to negotiate a settlement.
Well, we were not part of that
at Harvard.
However, we had to be informed
about it because we had the books.
It took three years to work it out,
because there were a lot of issues
to be discussed.
There were publishers at the table
as well as authors.
And publishers and authors
did not have identical interests.
There were libraries, not at the
table, but very much in the picture.
They were talking to Google
away from the room.
And I'm not sure how much I can say.
I definitely cannot talk
specifically about the negotiations
because I signed a non-disclosure
which I'm told is still in force,
and I don't want to go to jail.
Google's long-running legal battle
with the US publishing industry
came to an unexpected halt
this morning
as the parties announced
a settlement
that would see both sides cooperate
on online access
to copyrighted books.
Google have agreed to pay
125 million in the settlement.
35.5 million of that sum
will go towards the establishment
of a rights collecting body
for digital books.
$45 millions has been set aside
to compensate writers
whose copyrighted books
Google has already scanned.
They will get around $60 per book.
The largest portion of the
settlement, $45.5 million,
will go just on the legal fees.
But the most striking aspect
of the agreement
is that it turns Google into a book
seller, selling online access
to out-of-print but
still-in-copyright works.
For those of you who don't know the
details of the settlement agreement,
it's 385 pages,
it has 46 sections of definitions,
it's got 15 sections
on Google's obligations,
it's got nine sections
on the economic terms,
it's got six sections
on libraries' obligations.
So this is not a little three-or-four
page memorandum of understanding
that we are talking about here.
This is a very heavily-negotiated
So how many people have not
read the 334 pages?
We proposed something that was
a little bit outside the box
and that was - if money
is being made,
share the money with
the rights holders.
It couldn't be simpler.
So I thought it would be pretty
That apparently was naive of me.
I personally became increasingly
with what originally
looked like a great idea.
They basically transformed
the search service
into a gigantic commercial
They really thought they would
digitise every book in existence
and make it available,
for a price, everywhere.
The settlement would allow Google
to have essentially a licence
to commercialize all books
that are out of print.
There were certainly
hundreds of thousands
and probably millions of books,
for whom, even if they were
in copyright,
no author, no publisher,
no rights holder would come forward.
And those books are orphans
and Google would be able
to commercialize those
and nobody else would.
A monopoly was being created,
a monopoly of access to knowledge.
Did we want the greatest library
that would ever exist
to be in the hands
of one giant corporation,
which could really charge almost
anything it wanted for access to it?
It's not a library, it's a bookstore
and, you know, sell it
as a bookstore, if you want,
but don't pretend
that it's a library.
When I talk to people
in the publishing industry,
they find it humorous cos
it's like, "Well, they're orphan
for a reason..."
And that in fact if we suddenly
found this goldmine
where the future of the book
are the orphan books... Yeah.
..OK, then, boy, those publishers
sure aren't very smart.
Our principal concern here today
in this discussion
is that, under the proposed
Google would be the only entity
that could treat copyright
as an opt-out mechanism.
Everyone else would have to treat it
as opt-in.
There are other problems
with this proposed settlement.
Listed below are various potential
revenue streams for Google
as identified within
the settlement -
institutional subscriptions,
consumer purchases, advertising
uses, public access service,
print-on-demand, custom publishing,
PDF downloads,
consumer subscription model,
summaries, abstracts,
compilations of books.
That's what you are going
to end up with at a minimum.
What I'm saying to you, Mr Drummond,
does this, in fact, place Google
at such a tremendous advantage
in disregard of what has been
historically copyright law?
How do you respond
to those concerns?
As of today, we have zero market
share in any sort of books,
so we're a new entrant
to the market.
So far from being someone
who's controlling the market,
we're not even in it yet
and we're trying to get in there.
They thought, "All we have to do is
kind of announce this to the world
"and the world will go,
'God, what a great agreement!'"
And, for a while, some people did.
But then, you started reading
the agreement really carefully
and there were lots of questions.
The problem was there was nothing
in the agreement
that respected the privacy
of the people
who were looking at the books.
Google was going to be keeping track
of who exactly was reading
that book,
how long they were reading it
and what they read next.
That information could get back
to the government,
could get back to the FBI,
could get back to the police,
could get back to their employer.
Because Google wasn't making
any kind of guarantees
about what they were going to do
in respect of this privacy.
If people find that the privacy
policies of a particular technology
are not to their liking,
they should unplug it.
They should retreat
from the Internet.
They should cut off
their phone lines
and they should go up
and hide in a mountain.
They have that choice.
Well's conception
of the World Brain was that
it was intended to have a power
of surveillance over mankind -
information gathered
and organised in such a way
that we had an eye
that could actually survey
everything that was going on.
It would be able to register
where everybody was,
everywhere they went,
potentially, all the transactions
that they were engaged in.
And he seemed to think
this is likely to be a good thing.
It was a gradual process
of getting to know the details
of Google Book Search
and it was the cumulative
effect of these details
that made me feel this project
was, actually,
something that I myself
could not recommend
to the president and fellows
of Harvard
as something that we should
enthusiastically support.
HG Wells' idea of the World Brain
was a dictatorship of technologists
and intellectuals.
These are the geeks of their day
and, gradually, he saw
their power would spread
from laboratory to laboratory,
from university to university,
as these people with the expertise
began to coalesce
into sort of almost like
managerial groups
that would mean that we don't need
the politicians
and the conflicts and the noise,
the confusion, the babble.
But for the World Brain there was
to be a further component
and this is the component
that is what disturbs me.
It's how that would be used
to achieve the ultimate goals
of civilisation,
as it appears to have been
evolving towards.
It's going to change
how we interface with information.
People are going to ask,
"How did it do that?
"How did it accomplish this task
"which before we thought only humans
could ever hope to do?"
David Hume held this view
that sense and experience are
the sole foundation of knowledge.
What is empiricism?
After IBM's success with Deep Blue,
they looked around for other kinds
of games that they could take on.
And they wanted something
that was a very different
kind of game than chess.
And so, they picked Jeopardy!,
which is basically
a fancy trivia game,
it's one of those games
that you or I could play.
It's a human standing there
with their carbon and water
versus the computer
with all of its silicon
and its main memory and its disk.
After Germany invaded
the Netherlands,
this Queen, her family
and cabinet fled to London. Maria?
Who is Beatrice?
No, Watson?
Who is Wilhelmina?
That is correct.
This US President negotiated
the Treaty of Portsmouth
ending the Russo-Japanese War.
Who is Theodore Roosevelt?
Good for $800...
I did talk to Larry Page
when Google first started
because I was really perplexed
about why would anybody
make a new search engine
when we had AltaVista,
which was the current search engine.
It seemed good enough.
And he said, "Oh, it's not to make a
search engine, it's to make an AI."
Most of my discussions
have been with Larry Page.
We've talked in general
about their quest
to digitise all knowledge
and then develop true AI.
You can create intelligent systems
if you have very large databases.
And books are actually
probably more valuable
than all the other stuff
on the Internet,
cos we have a high standard
for what we put in books.
The computer industry
and its implications
in terms of information technology
is a multi-trillion-dollar
part of the economy.
It will be, you know, the basis
of everything we do in the future.
What Watson showed was you can take
a very large, very messy set of data
and if you can use
those inputs correctly,
you can actually answer
really sophisticated questions.
And, certainly, the presence of large
amounts of data on the Internet
is going to be as much an input
for machines as it is for people.
What we really will need to top that
is computer systems that can
understand natural language.
And natural language understanding
is actually coming along very well.
IBM's Watson is a very good example
of the current state of the art
in computers understanding
natural language,
cos not only did Watson
have to understand
the convoluted language
in the Jeopardy! query,
which includes metaphors and similes
and puns, and riddles and jokes,
but it got its knowledge
to respond to the query
from actually reading 200 million
pages of natural-language documents,
including all of Wikipedia,
and several other encyclopaedias.
And when you see a computer play it
better than we ever could,
it's one of those moments
where you realise,
"Oh, yes, the world really
IS different."
An IBM supercomputer named Watson
has won the first ever
Jeopardy! quiz show competition
starring a computer as a player.
Google Book Project is, in a sense,
trying to make that universal library
which could then be read by an AI
or a Watson-like supercomputer.
By 2045, we'll have expanded,
according to my calculations,
the intelligence and capability of
the human machine civilisation
a billion fold.
So that's such a
profound transformation,
such a singular transformation,
that we call it the singularity.
Now, this is not yet
inside my body or brain.
It may as well be.
I'm very dependent on it.
I think this is part of who I am.
Ultimately, this kind of device
will be the size of blood cells
and will go inside our body
to keep us healthy,
go inside our brains, put our brains
directly on the Internet,
give us direct access to the entire
library of all books.
AI is just a religion.
It doesn't matter.
What's really happening is real
world examples from real people
who entered their answers,
their trivia,
their experiences into some
online database.
It's actually just a giant
puppet theatre repackaging
inputs from real people
who are forgotten.
We are pretending they aren't there.
This is something
I really want people to see.
The insane structure of modern
finance is exactly
the same as the insane structure
of modern culture on the Internet.
They're precisely the same.
It's an attempt to gather all
the information into a high castle,
optimise the world and pretend that
all the people the information came
from don't deserve anything.
It's all the same mistake.
Google Search is going to be
assisted intelligence
and not artificial intelligence.
In my mind I think of Search
as this beautiful symphony
between the user and the search
engine and we make music together.
Before the law,
there stands a guard.
A man comes from the country
begging admittance to the law.
The man tries to peer
through the entrance.
He had been taught that the law
should be accessible to every man.
"Do not attempt to enter without
my permission," says the guard.
This tale is told during the story
called The Trial.
I've been surprised
at the level of controversy there
because digitising the world's books
and making them available,
there's really... there's nobody
else who's attempted it at our scale
or who is really working on it.
And I feel like we had a number of
technical challenges
which we've overcome.
There was this legal dispute
which we have a settlement,
settlements proposed, that we
at least jointly agree to with
the authors and publishers and so
forth but it remains somewhat
controversial, so I'm surprised at
the amount of resistance that's had
but, ultimately, I'm optimistic that
we're going to be successful.
It's important to understand that
the Google Books element was
negotiated by a small number
of people claiming to represent
authors and claiming to
represent publishers,
but not every author and not every
publisher was in the room
so once the settlement's announced,
there's a six-month period
in which it's required to notify them
about the terms of the settlement
and give them a chance to opt out
if they don't like the settlement
or to give them a chance to object to
the terms of the settlement.
The first time I realised Google
scanned my book was 2009, November.
Actually my lawyer called me
and he said, "Do you know your book
be scanned by Google Book?"
The search engine Google came under
intense fire from Chinese authors
as the digital library used books
written by Chinese authors
without permission.
The reader, they can search my book
by the keyword and maybe around
100 keyword, but I remember the most
ridiculous keyword of my book
is 'bed', B-E-D, and 'telephone'.
That's two words I remember
and that made me laugh.
This is not intellectual at all.
Me and my lawyer
decide to sue Google.
My lawyer asked 60,000,
something like that.
My journalist friends said, "I don't
want to help you but I know you.
"Why you ask such low money?"
so I wrote this blog that night.
When I wake up, it's, like,
400 messages at my blog saying,
"Damage this girl,"
and, "This girl's a bitch."
Blah blah blah. Really disgusting,
horrible messages.
I become a public enemy after Google
say they will leave China.
Also, Chinese young people started
sending flowers to the Google office
which has made even my best friend
be confused.
She say, "Is the government sending
you to sue Google?"
Before the court is
the plaintiff's motion to approve
the settlement as fair
and reasonable.
Numerous materials
have been submitted.
Did anyone count up
the number of objections?
We have in the range of 500.
Thank you.
I flew to New York
and it was very exciting.
There were 25 outside parties that
made presentations to Judge Chin.
There were 500 objections
for him to read.
The judge basically said, "I'm not
going to rule from the bench,"
but people were
hanging on every word.
This is a fascinating turning point
actually in the whole history of
knowledge and of access to knowledge
and it was being played out
in a New York courtroom
before Judge Denny Chin
in the Southern Federal District
Court of New York.
I confirm that one of my books has
been digitally scanned by Google
without my permission.
Because this act is a clear
violation of the copyright
law of Japan, I have asked
the Metropolitan Police Department
of Japan to criminally charge Google
and its CEO for this violation.
The court's decision was to
a considerable extent going to
determine the future of books,
of digital books.
The proposed settlement results in
a de facto monopoly on information
and an intensification of media
concentration on Google.
As a result, the right of free
access to information,
as well as the existing cultural
diversity in both Germany and Europe
will be usurped.
Would it be basically in the hands
of commercial speculators,
whose responsibility was
to their shareholders
or would it be organised
for the public good?
There was a risk
of monopolisation there,
that the Department of Justice saw.
The proposed settlement would
establish a marketplace
in which only one competitor
would have authority to use
a vast array of works.
The risk was that Google could
basically hold the whole
world hostage to
the price of access to these books
and, because no-one else
would have a licence,
no-one else would have a
corpus like the corpus they had,
we'd have to pay whatever
they wanted to charge.
The core concerns seem to
be that this would diminish
the availability to read
books in private.
That is not true. This service would
be available at public libraries.
You can walk into your neighbourhood
library, you can sit down at
a free access terminal, anonymously.
You can search for and read a book.
And if you want to
look at it at home, then what?
Well, if you want to look at it
at home, that may present an issue.
Here's the rub.
This is a tension
between requirements for security
that are insisted on in order
not to have these works be
sort of freely disseminated.
In my view, the Google Book Search
settlement is no different from the
piracy cases in which the Internet
and digital technology are abused.
I strongly urge the court to reject
the proposed settlement.
I remember there being
a Japanese writer there
and the language was very vivid.
It was as though, you know,
copyright was going to
be swept away,
and that copyright was going to be
destroyed and the approval of this
settlement was going to, you know,
make the United States out of
compliance with treaty obligations.
There's a real risk that, should
the court approve the settlement,
members of the World Trade
Organisation will initiate
settlement proceedings
against the US government.
And if the US government were
to lose such proceedings,
which is a very real possibility,
our partners would be
entitled to impose trade sanctions
against the United States.
You don't use words
like that very often.
It wasn't kind of like,
"Oh, gee, there are these issues
"and we're concerned
about something."
It was like,
I am not going to rule today.
There is just too much to digest.
I will reserve decision.
There's much to think about.
All rise.
And then Judge Chin
thought about it.
He thought about it
and he thought about it.
He took a very long time and every
morning I got up and I thought,
"Is Judge Chin going to
announce his decision today?"
And when he finally did,
I myself felt thrilled
because the court actually refused
to sanction the settlement.
Then Google Book Search could not
take place, at least according
to Google's original business plan.
US circuit judge Denny Chin said
the creation of a universal library
would benefit many
but would simply go too far.
Chin said the settlement of
a class action law suit that the
company reached with US authors
and publishers would grant Google
significant rights
to exploit entire books
without permission
of copyright owners.
Chin also said the deal gives Google
a significant advantage over
competitors and it would be
rewarding it for engaging in
wholesale copying of copyrighted
works without permission.
I think you could read the decision
by Judge Chin as a defeat
of the screen by the book.
But this is a long war.
This is one battle and,
whatever triumph there
might have been for books,
it's going to be short-lived,
because the screen
will ultimately triumph.
They spent several months trying
to negotiate a new settlement,
couldn't reach a new settlement
that was mutually acceptable,
so they're going to
have to go to trial.
'Baidu, China's search engine giant,
has been blamed by Chinese
'writers for participating
in copyright violation.
'This is because the website offers
free online excerpts of stories
'and books without
the authors' prior approval.'
I think very late March
or early April of 2011,
we purged the site of about 2.8
million files that we believed
might be copyright infringing within
a period of 72 hours.
I think a good number of them
were books or chapters of books.
We implemented a rule where no-one
could upload anything of more
than 1,000 Chinese characters without
it being manually inspected
for copyright infringement
or automatically inspected
for copyright infringement.
The problem is then people started
uploading parts of books
in 1,000-character increments
so they would avoid detection.
So there's always people who want
to abuse the system.
The question is,
has Google already been able to make
its search engine better because
of the Google Books corpus and the
scanning of 20 million books?
I think the answer to that is yes.
The question of
whether large Internet
companies are making our lives
easier or gaining power over us,
I think it presents a kind of false
binary because they're doing both.
If they were not
making our lives easier,
no-one would be
using their services.
This is the tricky,
complicated question
that we'll have to face
down the road.
All of them
are making our lives easier.
They're making products cheaper.
They're making our commute less
bothersome and more exciting.
Google will be supplying us with
glasses that will augment reality
and tell us about where
our friends are in the city.
They'll tell us the weather.
They'll tell us everything.
The question is what would
the trade-offs be?
What happens with all
of the information that would pass
through Google Glasses?
Surely it will be stored somewhere.
I'm sure Google will not be
discarding it because they will
need to know what it is
that I've seen yesterday
so that they can customise
what I see today even better.
But then the question is, would the
National Security Agency be able to
go to Google and ask for that data?
Ask for everything I've seen
through my Google Glasses?
And if that would be the case
then the question should be
do we actually want to have a
society where citizens are wearing
CCTV cameras on their heads?
Getting to a better system
where people are rewarded
for their information contribution
to the world, getting to that system
from where we are, where people
are expected to get by with less,
that's going to be a hard
They might involve government but
they might involve the big companies
and the reason why is the big
companies like Google and Amazon
are shooting themselves in the foot
with what we're doing
because what we're doing is
shrinking the economy. I mean...
My concern is not so much
the direction in which Google,
Facebook for that matter,
want to take the world.
My concern is the fact
that it's Google and Facebook
taking us in that direction.
Our current policy to open up the
library and make it part of this
really very ambitious project, more
ambitious I think than Google's,
which we call the Digital
Public Library of America.
You know, I think that we
owe a great deal to Google.
I can't imagine that this
Digital Public Library of America
would ever have gotten off the
ground had Google not started to
race ahead with its own version of
digitization on this massive scale.
However, you know, Google,
wonderful as it is,
is not familiar with books.
For example, Walt Whitman's famous
book of poems, Leaves Of Grass,
was catalogued under gardening.
We are designing the Digital
Public Library of America
so that it will be perfectly
compatible with Europeana
and that means soon we will have
a worldwide network.
A gigantic world library.
HG Wells' view of science and
technology was what sustained him
and sustained his ideas
throughout his whole life.
He had this sense that, if only
we could get the scientists and the
working in the right way,
we could transform the world
and he continued with
that belief up until
the absolute final disillusionment
with the entire human world.
It was a book which he called,
so fittingly,
Mind At The End Of Its Tether.
He felt that the whole evolutionary
process that he had been studying
and he felt was leading us
to something new and wonderful,
had failed.
And his last words were that there
was no way out or round or through.
HG WELLS: Our world of self-delusion
will perish amidst its evasions
and fortuities.
It is like a convoy lost in darkness
along an unknown rocky coast
with quarrelling pirates in the chart
room and savages clambering up
the sides of the ship to plunder and
do evil as the whim may take them.
That is the rough outline of the more
and more jumbled movie
on the screen before us.
There is no way out.
Or round.
Or through.