There are some real obstacles to the coming age of multi-media computing. The prospect of having large, accessible databases of video raises an interesting issue. Who owns the video?
It is all very nice to suggest that you could ask a question of a computer and that any videotaped talking head that had an answer could be called upon to respond by the computer, but who pays the talent? One of the biggest obstacles to the creation of the world that I am imagining is the rights to existing video. No one really understands how to charge for the material they own. NBC News, for example, owns a tremendous amount of video. It seems reasonable that they would like to make money on this asset. If a news event from the past is the answer to your question, how do they charge for the use of that event? When a talking head we have taped provides a good answer, does he get paid?
Working out the details of these arrangements will be complex, partially because the existing models are based on very different means of payment. When you buy most forms of information, from going to a movie to getting a newspaper, you pay for some object in its entirety. But the whole point of the future technology for accessing knowledge is that you won't get everything the knowledge source has to offer, only that specific portion of knowledge that fits your goals. Still, there will be money to be made, so these details will get hammered out over time.
Who Will Step Up to the Plate?
Where am I in the content of the book?