Daily Archive for Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Jimbo Wales — High Mountains Free Culture Will Climb

He opens with reference to Hilbert’s list and offers his own. For each of these items I imagined a link to the audio of Jimbo speaking, but my battery ran out. Were this a wiki not a blog I could invite others to fill in.

free encyclopedia:
free dictionary:
free curriculum:
free music
free map
free art
free file format
free product identifiers
free search engine

Jimbo lays out these ways in which free culture will express itself. He asserts this predictively, He feels it, knows it’s true. He speaks for a growing circle of people, expanding in number over time as waves of spreading understanding. With each push the wave gets stronger. More people come to see that yes, we are in new reality. Core insight about the structure of the net comes clear. We can connect with whom we want, if only they want to connect with us. We can build structures in the net out of softwares that make connection productive and fun.

People who like to connect like to share. People who like to share like to trust. The net provides us interesting and powerful ways of doing this. In the battle of good and evil rhetoric structures the game. It’s poker, with rhetorical chips, stacked in story strength.

The force that will draw us forward toward the expressions of free culture Jimbo describes is evolution determined by the architecture of cyberspace. In an environment that facilitates sharing, those who learn to do it well will have competitive advantage. We are building self-sustaining software structures that facilitate aggregation of shared value. We can build more, with near boundless aspiration.

Jimbo likened his list to Hilbert’s. Ponder the Goldbach Conjecture. Jimbo’s list is not the same. He’s more engineer than mathematician. He knows he could create the technology and organization toaccomplish any one of the items on his list, and probably would if he did not already have his hands full. Who will take on the task?

One point he perked up on. Bill McGeveran observes that librarians resonate to recognition of the problem of reading and translating material recorded in formats of the past. Yes, we could see that to scholars of the past that problem would loom huge. I perked up too at this powerful example from the library world of the potential utility of open format standards.