Who Will Step Up to the Plate?

Will some company jump in and be the first to build large accessible databases of video? I don't know. It involves a major investment in a non-existent business and assumes users will be willing to pay for access. The situation is not unlike the one that existed prior to telephones being installed in every home or the one that existed prior to everyone having a television.

Creating the necessary infrastructure and the necessary software and collecting the necessary video is a complex and expensive task. And, of course, we have the classic chicken and egg problem here. No one wanted to spend serious money on television programming until everyone had a television and until advertisers were willing to foot the bill. Similarly, no one is going to spend the money to provide what I have described until the profit possibilities are clear or until advertisers decide that this is an important new medium. So we will have to wait to see how this all plays out.

In the meantime, allow me to make two predictions. First, the company that steps up to this market will make a fortune. This is the telephone business all over again. Everyone will want one, and the first one in will be way ahead of everybody else. Second, when all this happens the education problem will be over. Once people see that the world of information is really at their fingertips in a way that is easy to access and simple and fun to explore, people will realize that school is no longer the real provider of education. Children will never want to get off these new fully video-connected computers and their parents will be happy to see them so intellectually involved. The coming video database infrastructure will make for a more informed populace, one that finds out what it wants to know when it wants to know it.

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