Archives for December 2009

Cassetteboy and Barry Pilling mash-up the message for the BBC Digital Revolution Short Film Competition

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 16:49 UK time, Monday, 7 December 2009

Masters of the video mash-up, Cassetteboy and Barry Pilling, have joined the Digital Revolution team to make mirth and entertainment with the Digital Revolution downloadable content, and hopefully provide some inspiration of ways in which you can use our content for the Digital Revolution Short Film Competition.

Please note that these short films were commissioned by us to provide inspiration - they aren't entered into the competition.

First up, Cassetteboy, whose fast-cutting mash-up videos are (in)famous around the web, applies his signature techniques to the Digital Revolution rushes to offer a unique collection of mashed statements about the web:

Next, Barry Pilling uses his stop-motion approach to create a brilliant interpretation of the Digital Revolution content - telling the multiplatform story in a literally multiplatform way:

You just knew they'd never be able to resist using Stephen Fry saying "LOL".

So hopefully this has whetted your appetites for the rushes and fanned the flames of your your creative fires to get involved with our short film competition.

Digital Revolution has been releasing rushes sequences from the ongoing production for you to watch, embed, download and re-use for your own video, and we thought it would be fun to run a competition for you to make a short film about the series themes or a trailer for the series as a whole. We've made our own little mash-up to explain this further:

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Your short film or trailer could win a promo spot on the BBC Homepage and be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. The winners will also be invited to attend a documentary masterclass at the BBC and meet with a BBC Multiplatform Commissioning Executive. Just make something that educates, informs and entertains. You can find more of the details of the competition on the Digital Revolution Competition page.

After today (7 December 2009) we won't be uploading any further video rushes sequences until after the competition closes - 3 January 2010. So what you find on the rushes page is everything we will be putting up for use in the competition. 

In fact, since we've been uploading more and more rushes sequences over the last couple of weeks, you have more rushes to play with than Cassetteboy or Barry Pilling had. So what are you waiting for? Get mashing!

Rushes Sequences - David Nicholas interview - London (Video)

Professor David Nicholas is Director of the Department of Information Studies at University College London. He is working with the Digital Revolution team on our experiment to test the web's effects on our brains and joined the team to discuss the changing nature of knowledge seeking, acquisition and retention in the web-connected environment, and the personal information we share when online.

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


(Please note that this transcript is the 'raw data' text we receive from a transcription company. It is a tool commonly used in production to facilitate editing and review the content. We publish it for users in that same spirit, rather than it standing as a 'perfect' representation of the content.)

Intvr      If I can kind of take you back a few years, can you tell me what first inspired you to launch Netflix?

Alex        So what do you mean by information seeking behaviour what, what was information seeking behaviour in 1970s or what is it now why is it so important?

Dave     OK we all have information needs those needs might arise from health it might rise from err from wanting to find  a good school it might even arise from wanting to find the cheapest product somewhere. Everything triggers off a sort of information need and to meet your need you've got to seek information hence information seeking. Now I the old days it wasn't so easy to do that you could talk to your mother you could maybe go to the local library and if you were lucky enough to live next door to the British library you were really lucky because they had lots and lots of information and lots of opportunities for information seeking. Now in today's universe everybody has British library on their door stop in their mobile phone, on their laptop in their office and suddenly we have  unbelievable resources close to hand and we can seek information in any particular way we like with so many possibilities in fact information seeking is there's a sort of,  it it's  a siren behaviour, we, we're attracted by seeking information finding things, and all of those things so that's today information seeking is central to everything in our lives and unless we can information seek well we're in real trouble. 


Alex    What happens when you go on line?

Dave        The moment you go on line, you are recorded as having going on line you leave a, a print a people know roughly where you're coming from and they know you've entered a site and once you've entered that site it can say where you're going in that site.  Where you don't go in that site, what you look at, what you don't look at what search terms that you use. What documents you decide to display and how long you are there and where you go next and err, and by putting all those things together characteristic of information seeking behaviour and use in cyber space. It's very, very simple and it's done automatically which is the beauty and anybody could do it essentially but don't. 

Alex    Tell me how extraordinary it is accessing these deep logs of information what, what does this represent in terms of social assumptions?

Dave    It represents.

Alex        By accessing the search things. ............


Dave    Paradigm shift comes to mind but it is absolutely awesome and it's quite frightening because the scale of the activity the depth of the activity is just mind blowing really I mean it's just for a researcher like myself it, it's like finding a massive massive gold mine. And it's just wonderful, wonderful data that hopefully will change society that, that will make sure that in the information rich world we are in that people will fully benefit from this fantastic resource so it's just an wonderful wonderful sort of harvest and that is that's a good way of describing it. and it's happening as I'm sitting here now more and more people are leaving their footprints their fingerprints for, for is to analyse because things change and that's the other beauty, we can watch change happen almost in real time and we all told our society they it's changing fast well look we don't have to guess we can just look and see and say it is here it isn't there so we can put a lot of things to rest that we, we couldn't before. There was lots and lots of room for people to have you know to put anecdote out there as, as truth as so on. now as I say to many, many people this. Unless you've got a bigger data set than me and most people haven't then you know don't bother, believe what I've got here, and carry on.

Alex        Tell me what your background is was there a moment that you've thought I've just spent this amount of time and my impression is this. Was there a moment when this happened?

Dave    I think I first realised that we were onto something erm, when we started looking at the Times on line. And they gave us their logs because they were very interested in what was actually happening as a result of the digital transition. People moving from the physical world into the virtual world and they were particularly worried about young people.  not reading newspapers but in the virtual world they might view or read. So there were lots and lots of interesting things and when we got hold of the data, interestingly the most interesting thing wasn't the thing that they were worried about the most interesting thing was the biggest group of users for the times site were robots.  Now 40, 50 years ago there were no robot information seekers. No robots were using anything, there were no robots.  Now we have a world in which robots go looking for information. Obviously on par for other people.  The second thing we noticed is that the majority of v, viewers who weren't robots didn't come from the UK. Now we know that in hard copy world the majority of readers of the Times are in the UK. So the newspaper is written from that prospective.  But in the virtual space the majority of readers are ex-pats and they don't have the same sort of understanding they're not living in the UK therefore the paper needs to change what it presents in the virtual space. So little small things but major things and you could see it all from the logs. And while people might have suspected that before, it's they didn't have any proof, they didn't know and we could say well actually 30% of the Americans, 20% of the Australians. The Australians are looking at the sport, the Americans are looking at this and people begin to understand what a global audience was.  What actually happens when you move a thing to a virtual space and it changes in ways that you don't quite suspect.  

Rushes Sequences - Reed Hastings interview - USA (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 16:08 UK time, Monday, 7 December 2009

Reed Hastings is the founder and CEO of the US online DVD rental service Netflix. He met with the programme three team to discuss the reasons for creating the online DVD service, the nature of recommendation engines, and the nature of commerce and economies which might suggest that the digital revolution is not such a dramatic shift in the world, rather another part of the constantly evolving world of trade and communications.

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


(Please note that this transcript is the 'raw data' text we receive from a transcription company. It is a tool commonly used in production to facilitate editing and review the content. We publish it for users in that same spirit, rather than it standing as a 'perfect' representation of the content.)

Intvr      If I can kind of take you back a few years, can you tell me what first inspired you to launch Netflix?

Reed  Well lets see back in erm 95 or 96, erm I made a mistake like a lot of people do and erm did forgot to bring home, bring back to the store a video, a VHS cassette, of the erm movie Apollo 13 and it sat for a couple of weeks in my house, and when I finally brought it back it was a super large late fee, about forty bucks.  And erm you know it just bugged me, cause erm of course it was kind of my fault but you know I still erm felt that it was a bad way to do business.  And erm about 2 years later in 97, erm a friend pointed out, a DVD for me it was the very beginnings of DVD, erm and I realised, oh you could mail DVD's and you could have a system where you didn't get late fees, and erm it got exciting erm at the time, you know the Internet was booming, erm there was easy venture funding, erm and so erm I got some friends together and we decided to launch this company.  And erm then the subscription service finally launched, about 2, it took us about 2 years to get the subscription service all up and running, erm and now 10 years later we're over 10 million subscribers.

Intvr    When you first started the business, did you want to have a lot of movie buffs on your team or were you looking for kind of a more analytical approach to how to identify movies?

Reed  Erm, Netflix is really a Silicon Valley company, we understand the Internet very well and we've all gotten in to movies.  There are some people at Netflix that are movie people first and Internet second, but for the vast majority of people they're Internet first and movie second.  And we look at movies as a really rich area to try and understand human behaviour, and how to create a better experience than erm any other video system, so that people watch more and more movies.

Intvr    And so what, what did you create software to do?

Reed  In the beginning we realised, you know that we were going to ship a lot of DVD's, but that getting fast DVD's through the post was not the only thing that was important.  What was also important was helping people choose movies, movies that they would love, and if you asked 10 people what's the best movie they've seen in the last 6 weeks, you get 10 different answers.  I mean movie taste is very personalised.  But what we realised is if we asked people to tell us what other movies they've loved, in the past, that our computer systems can do a really good job of helping them choose movies that they're more likely to enjoy in the future.

Intvr    So what, what does that, what does that enable you to do?

Reed  The great thing about erm movie recommendations online, is it gets consumers just more excited about movies.  I mean for most people one out of three movies that they watch they love.  But with Netflix, what we're trying to do is make it so easy to choose that it becomes two out of three movies you watch, you love.

Intvr    And why is that so, why is that so powerful, why do you think that's good for the consumer, and why is that good for you as a business?

Reed  What's good about recommendations for the consumer erm, what's good about movie recommendations for the consumers is they enjoy more of the movies they watch and because of that they tend to watch more, they tend to stay with Netflix, they tend to enjoy movies more, and so it increases the whole eco system.  And then for us, as a business, it gives us a differentiator against things that's much harder to do in stores, because online we can do this at very large scale.

Intvr       So can you, do you supply a wider range of movies than you could if you were a retail store, erm and can you use the information about what people want, to help identify which movies you want to stock in future?

Reed  Not really, we carry erm, you know we carry virtually all DVD's, and we'll just react to erm growth and demand and buy more copies.  Erm, so recommendations really helps mostly on the consumer satisfaction side, as opposed to the demand fulfilment side.

Intvr    And what about, I suppose from your point of view that the happier your, the happier your customer are the more likely they are to stay with you and the more likely they are to tell they're friends and?

Reed   Exactly right, recommendations form the basis of a lot of the happiness of our subscribers and they tell more people.  And its so powerful that the average Netflix subscriber has told us how much they like 200 different movies.  The average number of movie ratings is 200 per subscriber.  And a rating is just a one through five scale, it's a quick flick, you don't have to write a review.

Intvr Do you think that by having lots of, by being recommended lots of different titles, so you enjoyed Apollo 13, you therefore might like erm another Tom Hanks movie, erm do you think that broadens people experience of erm cinema, is that how you would see it?

Reed  Erm movie recommendations can be broadening or they can be narrowing, what they're really focused on is increasing enjoyment.  There's a hundred thousand movies out on DVD and in your lifetime you're only going to see a couple of thousand.  So we want to help you pick the thousand or two that you're going to love most.

Intvr     Some, some cultural critics would, they would say the one of the problems with kind of automated recommendations is that it does, it keeps on giving you things that your more likely to like, and rather than you know the, the perhaps more haphazard experience than we've been used to, or you know certainly generations ago, where you know you would go to see something and maybe because it was based on what a reviewer that you trusted said, or you know one of your friends said or just because you know for some other kind of happen stance, so erm that in some way that they would argue that the recommendation system is kind of narrow our experience, because we don't, it kind of it, it automatically funnels us down the thought process of things that we've already kind of identified as liking, is that fair?

Reed  In doing recommendations you can focus on the artist first, the movie producer, and trying to say who are all the people that might enjoy this movie.  Or you can focus on the consumer and say what are all the movies that that consumer's likely to enjoy.  And we take the latter approach, we are a hundred percent about trying to improve our consumers enjoyment of movies.  And we help them get the movies that they're going to laugh at most, cry the most, love the most, its all about pleasing the consumer.  And if that narrows, that's fine, if that broadens that's fine.  Erm, but for us its in search of the consumer happiness.

Intvr       So do you think your kind of it's a, your erm, erm what's the right word erm your kind of your indifferent to the, you've got no cultural agenda essentially, you know if it so happened that all of your customers suddenly liked, started liking erm polish animation, we'll give them polish animation.  If they all want the, the blockbuster, you know the Hollywood studio movies, that's what you would supply, is that?

Reed  That's exactly correct, so our view on it is we're here to serve the customer, not a cultural agenda of some sort, and if all the consumers want a particular type of movie we're happy serving that to them.  That's what admits making them happy, so you know we're focused on making it easy and erm fun and, and very enjoyable for the consumer.  Erm, in fact, because consumers are very different, all different types of people, that ends up being a very wide group of tastes.  Because everybody's different.

Intvr I guess this is the erm again some of the kind of cultural critics would say, well you should be challenged, you shouldn't just be given you know erm given just kind of the thing that you want, erm you should be you know somehow you know, you should be made to experience erm things that perhaps challenge you more or you weren't expecting to like.  I mean is that how do you see that?

Reed  Well if someone believes that they should do a business that's in the business of challenging people, we're in the business of making people happy, that's were very focused on it and we're erm very clear about it, what we want to do is have our consumers erm love movies, and love more and more of them.  Erm but different people can take different angles, ours may not be the only one.


Intvr      Do you think it matters that you know some of the old content producing industries sort of struggled so much since erm, erm since the you know the with the rise of the web?

Reed  You know change is a hard thing, it was very hard on shipbuilders you know when the aeroplanes came and you know and erm it was harder on railroads when trucking came along and erm so it is, its very tumultuous, when a new technology comes along that serves consumers better.  And erm now that's what we're seeing in the news business, is that more and more consumers are erm choosing to consume news on line, erm instead of erm in printed paper.  And that has a whole set of economic ramifications to it.

Intvr      Ultimately do you think that you now erm its just kind of it's the evolution you know it's the evolution of the media and it's a natural process and we just kind of, we shouldn't mourn for erm you know, or do you think, some people would say actually in this process we're going to, we will you know erm we will miss out on something tht those old institutions have created.  Do you buy any of that argument?

Reed  Well you know look at erm shipping, so for thousands of years, commercial shipping used long shore men to individually load the holds, you know bag by bag full of coffee and sugar and copper and all kinds of other things. Erm and then about 50 years ago containerised shipping came along, which was dramatically more efficient, so costs are way down so everything's cheaper, you know buy and large the worlds a much better place, but if you were a long shore man or if you were in the community that was supported by long shore men, it was a you know a very wrenching and difficult time.  And there will be pockets of that, that come with a change, so you know its not all good.  Erm, you know it really depends upon your frame of reference.  But it doesn't slow down, generally the adoption of the new model, whether that's containerised shipping or on-line news.  Cause consumer preferences have a way of trumping everything.

Intvr      Is there anything else you want to say ...................

Reed No but I would say, your, you know erm as you picked up, I'm cynical that your macro thesis isn't right, I don't think the webs that unique, you know you've got this long term expansion of data, erm.

Intvr        Would you say that because one of the things I'm absolutely interested in is this point that erm actually erm perhaps the web hasn't, it isn't any different that you know erm as you say?

Reed  If you think about retail over the last couple of hundred years, erm a shopkeeper would get to know they're individual customers, and they would stock the things that they thought made sense to the individual customer.  So there was personalisation on a kind of ad hoc basis, as one person would do it.  Then the real change came with computers and data systems, where there was large-scale retailers now able to use large databases with lots of say all of your credit card history or now, lots of erm hypermarkets have store cards and you're able to store all of that information so they can do a better job.  And he webs not unique, its just one more data source in the total data pie.  Erm, credit cards, erm your shopping history, your travel history erm your web history these are all various aspects of the ability for companies to use computers, to try to serve the consumer better, because all those companies are always competing for the consumer's business.

Rushes Sequences - Daniel Schmitt interview - London (Video)

Daniel Schmitt is a spokesperson for a site which specialises in the anonymous online publishing of sensitive corporate, governmental and organisational documents. He met with the programme two team to discuss information's desire to be free and the means by which governments and others might work to prevent the internet from facilitating that informational freedom.

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


(Please note that this transcript is the 'raw data' text we receive from a transcription company. It is a tool commonly used in production to facilitate editing and review the content. We publish it for users in that same spirit, rather than it standing as a 'perfect' representation of the content.)

Alex Daniel tell me about Wikileaks?

Daniel One of the Wikileaks is an Internet platform, erm it's a platform that was created to publish documents, that are in the interest of the public.  So primarily we focus on documents that are not supposed to be published, but that erm because they are in the interests of the public need, need to be erm published.

Alex What types of documents, so can you give me an example?

Daniel Well erm we're focusing on any sort of official documents, so erm any documents that were issued by some formal interview like within a company a government, erm a certain department erm anything that you have not been writing up yourself but that has been issued within them, within an organisation.

Alex Now that's traditionally the domain of, of Whistle blowers who would then take this, these documents to the traditional media, why have you chosen to keep it within the web?

Daniel Well we're not keeping it within the web, but we're offering exactly for whistle blowers we're offering a platform where they can first of all anonymously contribute they're documents.  So erm this is a result of erm the position that the media has all over the world, certain developments.  So erm in many countries, today, erm a journalist cannot guarantee the safety for his sources any more, erm you can be forced by a court ruling to give information about your sources as a journalist for example.  Erm in some countries erm there is, there are no ways for people to get in touch with reliable journalists, to even find out who they could trust.  So its very important to offer one entity, like us erm that, that has a reputation and that is erm offering this anonymous way for people to submit this information.

Crew talking

Alex Daniel I'd like to pull apart this notion of anonymity.

Daniel Ok.

Alex Yeah so you say that people can publish the documents anonymously.  How, do you know, I mean surely there's some benefit in knowing who's publishing them to, to assess the veracity of the documents?

Daniel Yes, well, well if you want to verify a document, erm then it surely helps if you know who has sent it to you for example.  But that's just one piece of information in the ideal case we don't want to have.  So we've sort of set up a system that erm or a scheme and within this scheme was can successfully verify documents without knowing the source.  There is a lot of possibilities on how to do that.  So you, you don't necessarily need to be in touch with the source to be able to verify a document.

Alex What types of things do you do to, to assess the veracity of the claims?

Daniel Erm well I mean we are primarily dealing with digital documents.  So in, 98% of the cases we are getting them digitally, so submitted via our web front end, erm this means that in the first erm as a first action we can have like a forensic examination of a document.  So technical people can have a look at a technical document or a digital document, they can check if a document has been modified, when it has been modified for the last time if they, like if there are like traces of a photo shop or other imagery tools where the image manipulation tools erm or whatever a kind of process this document has been going through digitally, so that is one aspect.  Then we have a big network of people that we work together with, that can help verifying the content of a document.  So, these can be people working within a company, within a government, that are related to this erm we can verify the context of a document so we might know that the document is known to exist, it has been issued in a certain context and we can cross check if the content of the documents match up with the context.  Erm, we can erm contact erm the issuer of the document, so that is another, just, just dial up the ones that have supposedly issued this document and just ask them about it.  This gives you some insight as well.  So there are multiple approaches that you can take and erm the sum of all these approaches is what in the end is the verification of the document.  So and depending on what document you want to verify, this case is always unique, so it's always a unique combination of people you work together with erm unique approaches you take and a unique outcome for each document as well.

Alex What's interesting?

Crew direction

Alex So while the, the source of the document is anonymous, that puts a lot of the spotlight on Wikileaks, erm what types of repercussions, governmental, private, how, how is Wikileaks protected from ultimately becoming the scapegoat for, for the controversial claims that, that are put forward?

Daniel Well erm, this is a very, that's a complex question. Erm first of all it's a Wikileaks is a journalist entity, so we are recognised all over the world as a journalist entity and erm we've established some, some technical means to ensure that we can use the countries with the strongest journalist protection for example.  So every .. document that we get, so if someone surf's to our website and submits us a document, this document becomes part of a source journalist communication.  And its technically, its routed via various countries and like Sweden, Belgium and a few others.  So this is something that happens without anyone noticing when just using the website.  But by routing it via these countries, you get to benefit from the journalists, or media protection laws that these countries have.  Or a source protection laws.  And erm that's one approach how, how you can, erm how you can establish erm that what you are doing has a legal protection.  Even if, if the journalist is sitting in, in Germany and the source is sitting in the United States, so its still part of a communication that is going through Sweden and Belgium.  So, erm so now we have 4 jurisdictions that are already involved, erm just in this communication then there is a fifth person that has erm that has registered the Domain name for example and the domain is registered in the six countries, so erm so its all a matter of where actually would you be shooting at, and where would you trying to prosecute someone erm its, its just raising the level, or raising the bar for someone who is trying to, to prosecute this or to scapegoat.


Daniel Yes, yeah well its basically Internet censorship is becoming an issue for every western country, it's the biggest issue that we face in our time.  So, erm just coming out of Germany for a meeting you here erm this is one of the, the basic topics we have right now in Germany, is that erm the ministry of the erm the family ministry actually has started a, a very shallow and erm propagandistic campaign erm to promote Internet censorship erm to fight child pornography.  So what we can see in many countries, so this happens in other European countries like a lot in Scandinavia as well, Italy is another example, France is thinking about this, Austria is erm something similar exists here in the U.K. as well.  So what we see is that erm, erm politicians take various stigmatised topics that no one really dares to, to doubt, so they are taking a stigmatised topic like child pornography and they say we want to fight this and so who is against our struggle against child pornography.  So no one wants to be the one saying I don't want a censorship system against child pornography.  But in the end, at the end of the day it's not about a certain content that you're filtering.  The filter, the censorship system itself is neutral, it doesn't care what somebody tells it to filter.  And then its just a matter of what kind of lobby has enough political power to push into this censorship system, so very fast, from a world where we have this beautiful Internet that connects us all globally, where very human that connects to the Internet is the same as another human being that is connected, has the same voice, the same importance the same possibility to spread the word to everyone else, where all these things that we take for granted, that we have experienced within the Internet, where all these things from one day to the other can cease to exist basically.  Just because the regulation has been introduced in the wrong way, because we have not protected us but we have rather given someone the right to control us, or to police us.

Alex So is government then the greatest that, sorry I'll try that again.

Alex So is government the greatest threat would you say or are there other entities that will be greater?

Daniel Everyone who is trying to, to pursue his interest on the Internet is a threat to the Internet.  Just because, within the Internet you don't have these kind of interests.  You are the same as I am and my provider gives me access in the same way that you have or are getting access on the remote end of the world.  It's Protocol, it's the Internet protocol that people have agreed upon.  It's the same thing as I know when I am dialling +44 on the phone, I'm getting a connection to the U.K., so I don't have to worry that my provider now is doing something different with +44 or introduces I don't know advertising when I'm trying to dial for a number.  So in the same way we have to make sure that the Internet stays neutral.  That it will just be a transport mechanism, in the same way that we have postal mail, or the telephone.

Rushes Sequences - Martha Lane Fox interview - London (Video)

Martha Lane Fox was co-founder of and is now the Chairman of the Digital Inclusion Task Force. She met with the programme three team to talk about the early days of web entrepreneurship, the state of the web today and the future of the web.

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


(Please note that this transcript is the 'raw data' text we receive from a transcription company. It is a tool commonly used in production to facilitate editing and review the content. We publish it for users in that same spirit, rather than it standing as a 'perfect' representation of the content.)

Martha I think that people have patchy understanding of data on the web.  It's such an enormously complex subject, you know, retailers might use data in a completely different way to search engines, you know.  I don't think anybody has ever had access to Google search algorithms and what that means if you are suddenly at the top of the search when you've searched for something or if you suddenly fall to the bottom, you know.  That's something that's very murky and behind the scenes, but similarly I think that retailers by, in large, have a pretty good open transparent policies.  They tell you what they are doing with your data, you read terms and conditions, you know, are always try to be very transparent with our own business, like every, you know, proper retailer now.  So, I think it's enormous in varying degrees.  I think the big piece that's obviously come from nowhere in the last few years, the hot topic of social media, I think that people are only beginning to understand what it might mean to post things about yourself in a public forum that then might be looked at by people that you work with or might be looked at by people that might employ you in the future or, you know, that whole area I think, is where people are now only beginning to have a think about what that might mean for them.

Intv Um, in relation to that, do you think that there is a, kind of, a shift in terms of our expectations, to put in a simple way, it's a, I think it would have, it felt, kind of, it probably still does for some people, unimaginable that you would kind of put a picture of yourself drunk or something at a party or you wouldn't stick that on the wall outside your house probably, maybe you would.  But, you, people obviously are happy to do that on social reader sites and so on and it's an even more public declaration.

Martha I think the social media is interesting, you know, would you stick a picture outside your house, no, probably not, but you are always framed in social media context, in a world that you create.  You know, you don't have to accept people as your friends, you don't have to let the whole world see it, it's not really anonymous in the way that I think sometimes people get scared that it is.  I think this all comes back to education and it's all very well for me to sit here in my mid to late 'can I bear it 30s', actually you need to look at what 11, 10, 9, 8 year olds are doing and how they're interacting with technology.  And for me, they're the people that both can teach us but also need to be educated themselves and this is where I agree with Tanya Byron's report about technology that, you know, it's all good and to be embraced but you have to underpin it with proper education about exactly those issues of identity and privacy.

Intv Do you think there was a time, in that sense, in the way that, um, er, perhaps teenagers or even younger see the web compared to the way that, when their 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s.

Martha There's a massive generational difference in how people see the web and that's one of the things that I find most interesting and exciting, you know.  Not only between classic generational breakdowns but much more split and atomised fragments of early 20s to late 20s to mid 20s, it's more about, kind of, the stage of life you're at as well, I think and where you are in the education cycle, you know, if I look now at how eight, nine, ten year olds use the web, it's completely different to how, you know, somebody aged 18 would use it, completely different to how I would use it again.  And I think that one of the issues around the privacy questions that are now being raised are, have we taught children how to be safe online enough and are we, you know, aware enough, if we come at this later with technology, of all the different ways that information is used so, it's definitely a piece of education that needs to underpin all of the developments that are happening in technology.

Intv I think, one area that I suppose is particularly topical and controversial advertising, is relations behavioural targeting, do you have an opinion?

Martha I'm really not so vexed by behavioural advertising and targeting.  I think that as long as it's transparent at some level and you, the consumer or the user have the ability to find out what is being, kind of used to your benefit, your supposed benefit then I feel quite relaxed about it and I actually think that it can be an exciting leap forward.  I think where it becomes tricky is when it's not totally transparent to you, the user or there is no way of finding out and I think that that's one of the areas that perhaps we're only being able to grapple with now.

Intv If, when these stories look back in a hundred years and, as I assume they will do, um, what do you think they would say, this was the significance of the web.

Martha I think that it's too early to tell what historians in a hundred years will say.  I mean I think that one of the things that's challenging, er, slightly terrifying and er, probably will make the historians life extremely difficult is the fact that this is a change that is constantly evolving.  There's not a moment in time where suddenly a change happened, you know, yes business models were broken, new businesses were created, people were able to talk to each other and to institutions in a different way, but I'm not sure that historians will be able to, you know, the war of the roses happened and then a whole set of other things happened.  The French Revolution happened and a whole set of other things happened.  I think that the thing about the web is it's a moving feast every single year, every single week and so it's too early to tell.  It's too early to tell.

Martha Um, what do you think, what's the essence of the power of the web?  What's the, why did it take off, if you could, if we can pick on one particular aspect of it?

Martha I think it's nearly impossible to pick on one aspect.  I know that it's very helpful for people to have, you know, this one thing is the reason why we're successful, but the only way I can characterise it is that it's just a tool, you know.  It's a tool that makes things that we do in our every day lives so much more rich and easier and convenient and fun and the essence of it for me is that there isn't a pre-determined, you know, way of behaving on the web.  It's what you make of it and that's true for a business and that that's true for an individual and it's that tool and the power of that tool that you can use as an individual that I think is what makes it so, kind of, unquantifiable I guess.  

Intv Um and again this is probably a unfair question, but I'd like to, you know, er, if you look back on 40 years and, kind of, the early Internet, 40 year Internet now through to the web, do you think it tells me anything about human nature?  If so, what does it?

Martha Yeah, I like the thought of whether the Internet over 40 years tells us something about human beings.  I'm a positive person and an optimistic person and I think that the web has reinforced what I believe about human nature was that's it good and when put together, it can create great things, you know.  I find the web a friendly place.  I don't like this extremist view that the view is suddenly a danger zone where unpleasant people can more easily find their vulnerable targets, you know.  That's the extremities as it always has been in every society and as long as you educate to make people safe, I think the bulk of what happens on the web is interesting, exciting, supportive, fun and magic.

Rushes Sequences - Marissa Mayer interview - USA (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 18:32 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Marissa Mayer is Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at the internet search company Google. She met with the programme three team to discuss her early experiences at Google and the implementation of the Adwords advertising systems.

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Intv I'd like to take you back to almost your first day, what was the atmosphere like, what did it feel like as a company?

Marissa Well I think then, actually one of the more interesting anecdotes from the early days, in terms of giving people a sense of what it was like, ah, was back at doing my interviews, which were in April of 1999.  Ah, and at the time Google was a seven person company, ah, I arrived and I was interviewed at a ping pong table, which was also the company's conference table (laughs).  Ah, and, ah, it was right when they were pitching for venture capital money, so actually after my interview, Larry and Sergey left and took the entire office with them to the venture capitalists.  So the office manager, who was the only person remaining, came in and apologised and said, "I'm sorry, I know it was very important for us to get the interviews done today, but everyone has left (laughs), so you'll have to come back tomorrow."  Ah, and so I came back the next day and on that day, ah, I met, got to meet the company, because in those days the whole company interviewed you.  And my last interview was, ah, with a fellow Amit Patel, and when Amit came in he said, "You know, it's somewhat awkward because I just started this morning, so I'm not sure exactly what to ask you (laughs), but you know, let's have a chat anyway."  And so, ah, so it was really interesting to see just how fast the company was growing, that it literally grew, you know, from seven people to eight people, what is that, like 15%, ah, overnight?  And we really had to come to speed quickly, like Amit had to become an expert interviewer, em, what types of qualities does it look for in a Googler, literally within his first few hours of starting.

Intv By the time you joined, there was like fifty people?

Marissa No, no, so, ah, when I, so I interviewed in April and there were, ah, seven people growing to eight on the second day of my interview, and I started two months later after I graduated in June, at the time the company was running fifteen.

Intv During that phase, were people thinking about money or was it just about building the best search engine?

Marissa Ah, well certainly we were really interested in building a sustainable business and we had just received venture capital money, we wanted to think about how to invest it and how to scale the service.  Ah, but it is notable that the very first day when I arrived, ah, they had two projects that they assigned me, one to work on and one to help out with, ah, so I was, I was the lead on one and, and sort of the helper on the other, and one of them was working on the ad system, and the other was building a better way of buying products, or searching for products to buy online.  So they are still two things that we're very interested in today, but that commitment was there right from the beginning.  We knew we needed to build an advertising system and I actually believe that on the, you know, some time in that first week, and the fi, second or third day I worked here, someone pointed out that the goal really was to have ads, they were as relevant and as targeted and search was, also it added as much to the user experience, so that was the vision, you know, from right, right when I started on.

Intv It's always been incredible clean and clear.  Did it feel like you were trying to go back to an earlier version of the web?

Marissa Ah, well I will give you the background story on the home page and our signature look, because people ask me that all the time, because I've now been in charge of the home page for almost ten years and people say, you know, what was the minimalism about?  Was it a statement of the clutter or the web?  Was it a profession of, of, of being a sort of, ah, a goal of minimalism?  And the answer was neither.  Ah, it was really just expedience, cos I can't take credit for it, Sergey did the original home page and when I asked him, I said, "You know, Sergey I get this question all the time and you've got to tell me, what were you thinking when you made the first home page?"  And Sergey looked at me like I was crazy and said, "We didn't have a web master and I don't do HTML," (laughs) so he just made the most, the, the, the simplest web page he possibly could, which was a Google logo and a search box.  In fact the first one he made didn't even have the search buttons, because it turns out the return key works just fine (laughs).  Ah, so we really stumbled into our signature look, ah, but it really was perceived with a lot of confusion by people.  Ah, we did our first user study in January of 2000, so the company was quite old at that point, about eight, ah, eighteen months old and, and there were about eighty people working here, and when we went, one of the first tasks we asked people, we wanted to have them do an unguided task first, so we'd say, and no one had used Google before, we'd say, "In your browser, open up and construct some searches to help to, to try and answer the question, which country won the most gold medals in the 1994 Olympics."  And so we had two users sitting at the computer, so they would converse with each other, so that way we wouldn't be as interruptive, ah, and they would turn and they would load up the homepage and they would wait, they would wait fifteen seconds, thirty seconds and of course, this was our first user study and we didn't want to interfere, because as long as when you interfere, you know, you can't observe a system without changing it, you know, you could actually change the results.  But after about forty five seconds of them just waiting, like are they trying to construct searches, it means it's hard to think about what key words you want to type, you'd have to lean in and say, "I'm sorry, but what are you waiting for?"  And this happened to all sixteen users we had, all day long, they just looked at us and said, "I'm waiting for the rest of it."  Because the web had become so cluttered and so, everything flashed and revolved and asked you to punch the monkey, that like this blank white web page was just presumed to have not been all of it, that there just had to be more loading and coming in the background.  Ah, and so after that user study, one of our big advances was we, we reinstated the copyright on the bottom of the home page, because we went to the, the lawyers and we said, you know, "Can we put this copyright on the bottom of the home page?"  They said, "Well copyright's actually implied, you don't need to put it there."  And we said, "Well actually we're not trying to assert legal rights, we're just trying to give the page a sense of punctuation, like that's it, nothing else is coming, please start searching now."  So it was really interesting to see, you know, just the confusion it caused with people and the many, many wasted hours around the planet as people just misunderstood the Google home page (laughs).

Intv In the simplest terms, can you tell me how AdWords came about and what it does?

Marissa Ah, well the core idea behind it, AdWords, is could we create ads that are as relevant as search results?  And one of the big issues with advertising, at least in the market of 1999 was banner ads.  Banners ads were, one, really expensive to create, they probably cost two or three thousand dollars of professional graphics design help to create one and, two, people were seeing a lot of banner blindness on the web, where people, because they'd just seen so many banners, had just learned to ignore that shape, that size, that kind of space that flashed and revolved.  Ah, and so we thought, well if we really want ads to be as good as search results, we're going to need a lot of them, we have a lot of web pages, that's one reason we can come up with such good answers to searches, is because we have a lot of web pages to choose from to present us those answers.  But the beauty of text ads is they're very cheap and easy to create, you can create a new sentence for every possible search, right?  So if a person searches for this, then you, you answer them with that, and you can actually have people write those creatives much more quickly than you can create banners.  So it really worked for advertisers because, one, they could be much more targeted, two, they could create their advertisements much more, much more cheaply, and it worked for us, because it really enhanced the user experience by giving us a large volume of ads, so we could find the very best ad for those users.

Intv Did it feel that you were going to launch it and if it didn't work, what's next?  Was there a plan B?

Marissa Well, so we lau, had launched a preliminary advertising programme, where we had taken some textual advertisements from premium advertisers.  But the real insight between, with AdWords was allowing people to create their ads online, pay with a credit card online, and immediately see it show up on the search results.  And yes, there was a lot of trepidation, like, we weren't sure, like, could we just immediately begin showing the ads on search results?  Would they be good enough, ah, for that?  Ah, we were pretty sure the volume was there, because the idea that you can reach, I mean, search occupies this really magical moment in advertising, where demographics, billboards, commercials on television, they're really trying to find people who are likely to be thinking about buying a service, or think, they think about buying a product, and with search, we don't need to guess, we know what they're thinking about, because they've just typed it into the box.  And we're like well, you know, for an advertiser, that's the perfect moment, and so we knew there would be some element of demand, but that's why we were nervous, we spent a long time building the system, I was there, I was helping as one of the launch engineers, it was before I moved into product management, and there was a team of about twelve of us who had stayed up all night, who launched the system, we had it all there, the credit card payments were there, the user flow of creating the ads was there.  And of course the first, you know, the, the team that launched it, we were all busy filing ads on the system, you know, one each, to sort of make sure that it worked.  And like I remember my ad actually was on my parent's name, and said, "Hi mom and dad, I'm finally done with the project now," so I told them each day to search for themselves and they'd know, and I was free to talk again.  Um, and so we had these twelve ads and I remember we had the stash board where we could see all the ads that had been filed and then, all of a sudden, there was a thirteenth ad.  And we were all like, well wait, which, which of us just filed the thirteenth ad?  Who, who, you know?  And then all of a sudden we looked and it wasn't, it wasn't one of us, it was, they were our first ad, AdWords customer (laughs).  And like it was just this thrilling moment that like, someone out there saw the service, like, created an ad with a credit card and, and it happened within about fifteen to twenty minutes of launch and I think, from that moment on, we were really sure.  It made sense that there was a demand for this, it was a really good product, it's a really good way of advertising and just the speed of and them finding this service and beginning to advertise through it was, was really a validation of, of all those hunches.

Rushes Sequences - AC Grayling interview - London (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 18:30 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

AC Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, writer and commentator. He met with the programme three team to discuss the web's influence upon the changing relationship between people and privacy and the issues we might want to give serious consideration when sharing our data online.

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Anthony       Privacy matters because we all need a margin of, ah, discretion around our lives so that we can exercise some control over them.   The fact of the matter is that, ah, we've already long ago given up much of our privacy, as soon as we started to email and use mobile telephones.  But if you thought about what it would be like if your neighbours knew details of your bank account, or your medical record, or could listen in to your quarrels with your spouse, you would be very  disconcerted, because you would feel that you were losing control over areas of your life that just belonged to you.  That's why privacy really matters.  And the, the great worry that we have in the digital age is that we've already given so much of it up, both to private agencies and to public ones.

Intv    Um, how might we give up personal information online? 

Anthony        Every single time we go online, every time we look at a website, every time we send an email message, every time we make a phone call with our mobile telephones, we're exposing ourselves, we're stripping ourselves naked to the view of anybody who is interested to find out what we're doing.  Ah, we know already that private agencies are keen to, ah, look at the pattern of use of the internet that we indulge in, so that they can target advertising at us and, ah, governments in the western world, indeed in the world at large, are anxious to keep a, a record of who people are talking to, and what kind of information they're finding out,  so that they can detect patterns of, ah, ah, that suggest crime or, or terrorism in the offing.  And in all these ways, therefore, we expose ourselves to view through the use of these devices, not that we would want to give up using these devices, they're just so useful to us, but they do expose us to scrutiny.

Intv     So how valuable is our personal information? 

Anthony     If you think about all the different aspects of your life, ah, ranging from your income to your, to your health, to your relationship with your employers, to your intimate relationships with your family, all the information, much of the information that's involved there is very, very important to you personally, it's very valuable to you, because you're able to manage it, ah, able to present yourself to other people, able to keep new ideas which are still rather tender and not ready for scrutiny, ah, you know, growing until they're ready to be aired publicly, in all these ways we've got this real need to, to have a wide margin of, of personal discretion around us.  And if other people know what's going on in our thoughts and in our personal records and communications, they've invaded that margin and they've made it less easy for us to control our own lives.

Intv      Um, should we be worried about this accumulation of personal information?  And if so, why?  What does it matter?

Anthony        We should be very worried, I think, ah, about the amount of data concerning ourselves, including very personal, private, intimate data about ourselves, which is now out there in the public domain, both in private and in public hands.  We should be worried about it for a large number of reasons, but one central reason is that this information is stored digitally in wh, one of another location, out there, in a way that we may not have access to ourselves, and it's a very, very easily manipulated, it's very easily changed by somebody who, ah, is either, ah, lazy, incompetent or malevolent in some way.  It's very easy for that information to be shared and for patterns of information to, ah, seem to appear to certain agencies that could put one under suspicion, even if one weren't, ah, a suspicious individual.  In other words, the prospect for misinformation for, ah, corruption of our personal information and for mistakes to be made about our personal information, is massively increased by the fact that there is so much of it out there and so much of it is collated by different agencies.  Ah, inefficiency and, um, patchiness of information is a great protection of personal privacy and the more efficient the systems are that collect and collate data about us, the more the potential is for mistake and misuse.

Intv         Would you have any examples of a breach of, of this? 

Anthony        Well we, we've had examples recently in the United Kingdom of, um, very sensitive information about individuals - health records, military police records - being lost because they've been left on a CD in the back of somebody's motor car.  Ah, we've had examples of people being, ah, able to hack into what should be very, very secure systems, for examples, ah, as I speak there is an extradition warrant out for an individual in the United Kingdom who hacked into the United States navy, military, NASA and the Defence Department computer, ah, nearly a hundred times.  Now this, this kind of thing is tremendously worrying, because you can imagine that if a private investigator, or the police, or a criminal organisation was trying to blackmail somebody, or trying to get personal information, or just trying to get your or my credit card numbers, that it would be relatively easy for them to do it, given the porousness of, ah, these, um, data storage instruments and the fact that it's very, very difficult to keep them secure and to police them properly.  So by giving up so much of our personal information, as we do every time we buy something online, or every time we talk to somebody on a, on a mobile phone, we're exposing ourselves to risk.  And one can think, ah, that, ah, in the records of, for example, British banks, ah, people claiming that their credit card numbers have been misused, there would be thousands and thousands of such cases every year.

Intv            ......... and the importance of it? 

Anthony         Most people are unaware of how exposed they've made themselves.  Um, I mean you talk to young people, for example, who've got their own personal blog sites, or their presence on YouTube or Facebook, ah, and, um, that they may come to regret doing some of things they did, ah, on, on video on the internet, or saying the things that they did, ah, especially when they start applying for jobs and, um, employers begin to look back through the, the digital record of, of these people, the trace that they've left in the public domain.  But, em, quite unaware, every single day that we do something digital, we are potentially leaving a trace out there and that if somebody wanted to find out where we were shopping, what we were doing, who we were communicating with, ah, why we were doing it, what websites we, ah, were logging onto, they could do it.  It, it's a very, very exposed set of media, these, ah, ah, electronic communication devices that we now use and, ah, the point is that they're fantastically convenient and none of would be, would willingly give them up, but what we would want, if we really thought carefully about what it meant whenever we used these devices, we would want much, much greater individual security for our communications. 


Anthony        The impact of the digital revolution on some of the traditional media, especially book publishing and, ah, newspapers, has, has taken a surprisingly long time to work through.  And ten years ago, people in the publishing industry were saying, how long will we be producing books on paper still?  And ten years on, they're saying it's amazing that they're still doing it and indeed, they are still doing it. But we're beginning to see the cracks in, in the ice flows and, and things really are changing there.  The newspaper industry, in particular, has already begun to suffer from the impact of digitalisation, ah, we, we're seen revenues, advertising drop, sales drop, we've seen all the major newspapers in the western world thinking about having an online only presence and trying to work out how they're going to, ah, afford to survive if they do that.  So, um, that is something which, even as we speak, is, ah, happening and the, but these things, when they begin to happen, happen so fast that, ah, it, it may be, you know, ah, out of date, these comments, um, by the time they're broadcast.  In the publishing industry, ah, ah, a slightly different, um, situation arises, which is this, that, ah, content, that is the words, the stories, the, the, the history, whatever it might be that goes into a book at the moment, that content still has to be provided, so there still have to be writers.  Ah, one of the great, em, sort of downsides of the internet is the sheer amount of rubbish on it, the sheer amount of misinformation, the sheer amount of, of nonsense.  You know, one wouldn't be, probably, overstating the case to say that about 90% of, of what's on the internet is not really all that reliable, or worth  much and if you are a very careful user of the internet, you know to, to check the kind of information that comes, ah, ah, over.  Because misinformation is endlessly iterated, it's a very inflationary mechanism, um, that the internet, it, it's, ah, it amplifies nonsense.  So there are always going to have to be expert filters.  I mean what happens at the moment is, somebody writes a book, an agent and a publisher, ah, look at a book, they think if it's worthwhile, they're prepared to take a, a punt on it, and they publish it, in, in the hope that they'll be able to recover their costs, even make a profit.  And that filter means that quite a lot of what gets through onto the bookshelves in a, in a bookshop, is of a reasonable standard.  Ah, now people who can self publish on the internet are, are pushing out badly written and, ah, you know, ah, ah, junk, um, there'll be some good stuff in there too, of course, as there are some very, very good blog sites, but a lot of blog sites are really not worth the reading.  So the, the need for an expert filter is going to remain, and then at the end, it's going to be the reader, the person who wanted to read that book.  So those three things, which exist now, and have existed always, will stay.  The thing that will change is the actual, physical nature of how that content is delivered, the vehicle.  Is it going to be, um, the PC screen, the home computer screen that people read books on?  Is it going to be an electronic device that you can read books on?  Or is it still going to be the paper device?  Some people argue that the, the paper book will never vanish, for the, the same reason as, um, ah, was made plain by that character, that body that was found stuck in a glacier up in the Alps and had been there for ten thousand years, you may remember, and that, that body had around its neck a handbag.  And a handbag is a very simple, extremely useful device, which is why its lasted for ten thousand years and, and maybe the book, which has been around for about five hundred years, will continue to last, because it's very portable, it's very enjoyable, it smells nice when it's new, ah, and, and people may still want to have those things in their houses, because books do furnish a room.  On the other hand, the portability, the convenience and the fact that you can have a, a thousand books on one tiny little handheld device, ah, means that, em, that will probably become the preferred vehicle in future.  So it looks as though that's going to come on stream, books may remain for collectors and they'll become very expensive items and, ah, and older people will prefer them to the, to the reading on screen devices, but it's inevitable that the digital revolution will result in a great change in the way that words are transmitted to readers, it's already happening, um, it's creating all sorts of problems, economically and otherwise, the, ah, technology is not yet good enough.  Um, it may be that in a few years time, we'll have an electronic reader device which is  exactly like a book, but you slip your disc down the spine and then you turn what feel like paper pages, but it could be any book, it could be Pride & Prejudice, it could be Gone With The Wind, it could be War & Peace, you would just choose at the press of a button.

Rushes Sequences - Steve Wozniak interview - USA (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 18:30 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Steve Wozniak is a computer engineer who co-founded Apple Computer Inc. and is the chief scientist of Fusion-io. He was a member of the pioneering Homebrew Computer Club influential in the formative years of Silicon Valley. Steve met with the Digital Revolution team to discuss the formative years of the web, the Homebrew Computer Club and Bill Gates' letter against early software piracy.

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Steve     The Home Brew Computer Club because of it's sharing attitude was 
very much the opposite of business as usual it was very much counter culture it was very 
much like open source you give away something you write it down. Other people can look at it 
improve on it come back to you get some you know little err amendments made erm, but you know companies did form in the Home Brew Computer Company right club. I mean the people that attending the Home Brew Computer Club sell products to make money and then eventually Steve ......... came by and we actually started a little company but not really an official company with big money and hoards of directors and that sort of stuff. When we did that later on with the Apple 2 computer the day, the day that I left Hewlett Packard to go to Apple and start Apple I never went back to the Home Brew Computer Club because now I was in a different world.

Intvr        The famous early letter from Bill Gates wasn't there about the, the software and ........... tell me a bit about that?

Steve    Sure our computer club got very interested in these up coming computers and then it became aware that there was a basic language a computer language that would run on these small low cost computers that you can build yourself and then you have to spend a lot of money to buy enough memory to run a programming language and to buy a teletype to type your stuff on yet you have to spend several times the cost of a car but then you could run Bill Gates and Paul Allen had written a basic came on a big paper tape reel and it, you read it in on a teletype machine it would get into the memory of the computer and then it could run programmes. You could type in a game out of a book of games written in the basic language, type in the game and play it on the computer. This was a whole, goal that probably every one of the 500 of us in the Home Brew Computer club was to get to the point that we could play games on our own computer.  And Bill Gates became a little bit famous and well known for this software going around. well we had a con, one copy of the tape that our club library had bought, to purpose and one member of the club, the Dan ........ took that tape and borrowed it for two weeks and when he came back he brought back like four copies, he just copied the, he copied the paper tape at his company AMI and he brought them back and he said the new rule is anytime you take something from the club library you have to return at least that many copies. That's kind of funny and we got a letter from Bill Gates all upset you know copyright you know you're copying software and you shouldn't. you know and I agree, I agree with that.

Intvr        Tell me more about the letter because whatever you think about it it marks the sort of change it's a different attitude isn't it to some of that kind of just sharing and sharing?

Steve        Say again.

Intvr    Tell me a little bit more about the letter and err.

Steve        Sure, sure the letter from Bill Gates to our Home Brew computer Club got some notoriety and fame over the years you know and because it was basically you know hey you have to pay for what you use and you know to, to this day we still have you know we, you look at all the reports of how many kids just copy all their music for free. I don't know I, I don't really agree with that I was brought up with a very strong ethics you are who you say you are, you tell the truth, the truth is the number one ideal in my life, and so I don't like you encouraging children to learn any time you get something for free it's OK. I do not agree with that I have never copied a piece of software taken a piece of software illegally, music no I won't touch that you know. Why don't you, you know you can, you can afford something and you can stick within your means that's what I believe in. And I have a lot of friends that are musicians they are creators of the world they're like writers and how did, imagine a writer, writing a book, how are they going to get paid if everyone copies it for free. Look at the royalties on that. So many of my musician friends their musician friends the royalties have just dropped, and dropped and dropped people are still getting their music more than ever before but they're not paying.

Intvr        Some of the just in the difference of opinion or the different attitude then you can see about this idea of software or piracy or things that should be free or whether they should be paid for do you think in a way that's the first example of an argument that's still going on today?

Steve    Sure yeah well when Bill Gates wrote his letter to the Home Brew Computer Club upset that we were copying freely copied his basic that he'd spent all his time and energy working on you know he was pointing out that erm, a problem which is the digital age on earth the ability to copy things for no cost. You know I mean there were times in I remember time in erm, like I was brought up to communist Russia you weren't allowed to have copy machines, you know and then all of sudden we started trying to ban copy of anything over here and it's just a problem how do you solve it in the long term it's almost like huge forces of nature that you cannot turn back. Huge hurricanes are forced eventually it's going to be so easy to copy things that their value their cost where people will pay it's got to go down, it just has to eventually err you know the laws of trying to hold it out I'd noticed that every court case to this day tends to side with copyright holders and you cannot have for free. 

Intvr        You talked about music and file sharing do you think that's something that's ever going to be resolved or is that just going to be keep playing out the same way?

Steve     Now that it's so easy to like buy a little card and put 500 movies on you know one little card that you can plug into a camera if you want it's very difficult when. One time in my office a gentleman came in you know on this whole copyright issue a gentleman came in and I was talking about my gosh you could almost get to the point you could put a movie on a card and he said oh somebody will have a card and you'll have 500 movies on. and I thought that changes life as we know it. it changes the rules if I have a card that's bits ones and zeros and I give you those ones and zeros the digital age, says a song is not longer music a song is a collection of a billion numbers. I give you those billion numbers you've got it. it's so easy. Our computer technology lets us copy everything instantly no it's very scary it means a new world, a new world's ahead and it may take decades it may even take centuries before we actually get to the final ending point. Because you know people are used to the old ways and you always want to keep a little bit of the old and the old is everything was too complicated for individual person to make all the copies in the world of. You sell them a replica on vinyl and they've got that one record and all these days of one record I mean they could loan it to a friend and get it back, but it's pretty much you know one record and now all of a sudden you give out a song and it, it could be 10,000 or a hundred thousand a million copies you know just distributed that instantly you know the, the cost of, the cost of production used to regulate this industry. Some industry's that are based on information meaning everything like music, books, erm, newspapers and, and movies. All these industries are having severe problems today.  Already and it's just been you know what's been you know what err decade and a half.  


Intvr        When did you first come across the internet?

Steve     I heard about the internet from friends at first, I wasn't one of the earliest people in it I had friends in companies like Hewlett Packard friends that were tied into the University community and I would watch them get on line with this thing called I, I got Arpanet before it was the internet. Now they had the internet they could talk to their friends at different universities and share scientific information I knew something was going on but I didn't know. I didn't relate it to how valuable it could mean to normal humans. And then a friend of mine told me he'd gone on the internet with a friend a certain here and seen some amazing things he said that was going to take over thing cause now for the first time we had a programme called mosaic that put pictures with your text on the internet. The original internet brought us the web from Tim Bergs Lee brought us the web but it was only words. It was only words it was merging the pictures and all of a sudden made it half way to what personal computers were. Or a part of the way there. and erm, had this and anyway I was scared I didn't know a thing about it I had a   friend err a friend of a friend Come in and and teach me here's how you set up the internet in your house or your company. First you have to rent some copper lines from a company called Bell something and then you have to do this and then you have to get these kind of machines and servers and I was scared I didn't know what any of this stuff was but I did it. I took the risk, I went and I got friends and I got equipment and I made purchases and I set things up I didn't even use a Macintosh computer I was familiar with I had to get a Sun computer and I got something hooked up and I had to make phone calls and say are you supplying the part or are we, something's not working and I had  it fixed and working and then for 10 years I became a network administrator keeping all these routers the route the signals out to this part of the network and give you internet addresses and all this crazy geeky stuff.  Erm, it was a tough time but I got on the internet so early I got a three letter dot com. I got wars my name dot com. But you know what everybody wants their name dot com and I like to do things different and I'm sort of a non profit guy  so I always use ............ non profit.

Intvr        Did you have experience of early on line communities or know of or hear of the well and so on?

Steve    When the internet came it turns out there were some, some things that proceeded the internet.  There were erm, the source was the first big huge organisation it was a computer that tens of thousands of people could dial into with accounts and link messages for others to read and then came AOL. AOL for the first few years was Mackintosh only because it was graphics in a display like we're used to on our computers today instead of just texting and answering you know putting out a list of my options on type 3 for this, and 3 for that so I talked plasters around this time and I would teach all the students every year I would give them AOL and watch how you're going to chat rooms and find people that are strangers and the amount of communication just explodes in your body the number of strangers that you can meet and actually talk to and you don't have to be afraid of a personal interaction.  Erm it was just amazing you could download all these neat software you know stuff and you know have AOL account download all the software you needed and you could research different news, you could get into groups of different types of education that were places for parents, places for kids what on an incredible world was opening. Now here came the internet and it was sort of like a sub centre of them but at first the internet was occupied by the ............. in the universities and they were putting out different kinds of information than what you do in normal fun like you know it wasn't kids it wasn't young education it was erm, and so at first the internet was a little bit more boring by you know and tame by, by regards. They didn't have sound they didn't have movies they didn't have all the things flash and all that we, we're used to today so it was a very early start but I thought this is so important this internet it's a cunning thing, we still have to dial into the internet on 50K modems, even slower modems I think when the internet first came we didn't have 50k modems yet we didn't have DSL we didn't have broadband we didn't have Cable modems we didn't have satellite anything so it was very, very slow and I got all my classes of young kids, 10 years olds on up on erm, I always you know taught them you know here's how you set up and use the internet have email addresses and do that sort of thing because it was easy was the most important thing in the world.  I went home one night I just set up the internet for the first day ever in my house and I said this internet is something you're going to be able to buy things on. you know things that you're not used to going to stores and we typed in, my wife and I typed in coffee and we found a place in .......... that you could order coffee I mean we were  just probably sending them a little note that they would then do all the paperwork and do it manually it wasn't really done through the internet. But I was really need to see you could actually buy something on the internet that was going to change the world of commerce for ever and this was in the early days the late 90's when all the investment, investors and all the venture capitalists figured the internet is going take over the world and anything internet related is going to be so valuable they invested and invested and they over invested more rapidly than the technology could really come about in robust fashion so that we had the dot com crash  and here we are today and I think every body would look at the internet and say it's a good thing.  It's a good thing everything I do on the internet I did before a different way that was more work, was slower or worse or didn't get a ......... it's changed our life quite a bit.  

Rushes Sequences - Dave Weinberger interview - USA (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 15:17 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Dave Weinberger is a technologist and technology commentator. He met with Aleks Krotoski and the programme four team to discuss the new mental journeys enabled by the hyperlink, the web's world of information freedom and the difficulties of filtering that information in the potential chaos of that freedom.

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


Unfortunately there is no transcript available for this clip. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Naming the series - the quest for a title continues...

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 13:45 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

First off - a big thank you for all your title suggestions for the series. The response has been fantastic.

This said, unfortunately we don't yet have a definitive answer on our title - we remain, as Stephen Fry, bemoaned 'title-less'.  

We've been inundated with suggestions (many of which you can find on the previous blog posts on the #bbcnamestorm) and here the team have been toiling with terms, scouring thesauruses (thesauri?), mixing metaphors and collecting clichés. But the Executive Producer and Commissioning Editor of the series still don't feel any suggestions either from both the production team and the web quite grab them enough.

Here are the shortlists we compiled of your ideas and ours. None of these are firm 'no's; the intention remains to take a shortlist of six names to BBC Two, and they will choose at least three of these from the longlist of your suggested names. But the suggestions so far have generated pithy comments from the powers that be - provided in parentheses beside them.

We're hoping this might help stir up one last burst of inspiration for a series title. If not, the six names will be taken forward from our existing lists.

Shortlist of suggestions from the web: 

The World Mind (nice but a bit too narrow - suggests content of our fourth programme
The Age of Dreams (is it, really though?
The End of Distance ('Death of Distance' is snappier but Frances Cairncross got there first
The Links That Bind Us (aren't 'links' a bit of a techie turn-off?
Let there Be Links (ditto with added biblical feel
Shift: the new digital paradigm  (quite Gladwell-esque but what does 'shift' mean/say?
Click: And the World Shrank (a bit narrow
Onrush (like the made-up word but it could be a documentary on cocaine
2010: A Web Odyssey (means we can't broadcast it in 2011
A brain the size of a planet (nice Hitchhikers' allusion but all a bit programme four
all together now (are we?
Civilisation + (like the computer game?
Around the world in 80 nanoseconds (very nice but doesn't quite roll off the tongue for the next-day-at-the-watercooler chat)

How the world was shrunk (all very honey I shrank the web
Unbound: the World Connected (not bad, just a bit bondage
1% useful (the series producer was tickled by this one but felt on balance that it slightly undermined the series mission)

Production Team suggestions: 

Digital Revolution (yes, we've grown to like it but nobody up top does
Only Connect (EM Forster would be proud - we're still turnign this one over
.Revolution (the dot is putting oldies off
How the Web was Spun (Stephen Fry liked the double pun but it sounds too historical
The Electric Enlightenment (but the web is so much more than electricity- sounds like we'll be featuing Faraday
Civilization Rebooted (that game again...
Clickstream (geek speak
Generation Web (programme four subtitle?
Unleashed: How the Web Transformed the World (walkies!
Reach: How the Web Changed the World ('Reach' could be a deoderant or toothpaste, not unique to web

We still feel the word' revolution' is important - as that's the concept the series interrogates again and again. Continual revolution, constant revolution, irrversible revolution... 

If you have any further ideas - find yourself inspired with a title for our series in the next few days - please do tell us! Either here on the blog, or via Twitter to @BBCDigRev. Your input and interest are hugely appreciated.

Rushes Sequences - Doug Rushkoff interview - USA (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 13:03 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Doug Rushkoff is an author, teacher, columnist and media theorist. He met with the programme three ream to discuss the realities of 'free' content and services on the web. 

These rushes sequences are part of our promise to release content from most of our interviews and some general footage, all under a permissive licence for you to embed, or download a non-branded version and re-edit.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


(Please note that this transcript is the 'raw data' text we receive from a transcription company. It is a tool commonly used in production to facilitate editing and review the content. We publish it for users in that same spirit, rather than it standing as a 'perfect' representation of the content.)

Doug  Look at the devolution of-, the way we represent ourselves online has devolved from the quirky, personalised HTML webpage, homepage of the '90s, to the somewhat modular but still strange presence of a MySpace page, to the completely formatted and market-friendly presence of a Facebook page. You know, what we've done is moved from personal, human, open-ended self-expression to completely market and computer-friendly regimented and conformist expression. And that's because we've turned the net from a venue for self-expression, to a way to render ourselves up onto the market. You know, as a result the internet does not foster humanity, you know, the internet is about human beings conforming to the needs of technology as understood by the market, rather than human beings getting technology to extend and express what it means to be a human being. And that's why the net has moved from being part of a human potential movement to part of the, really, anti-human movement.

Intv A lot of content on the web is free, and that's largely advertising-supported. Do you think that Google helps to create the 'free web'?

Doug   Um, Google on the internet serves almost the same function as the World Bank in the globe. In other words, Google talks about everything being free, open source and all shared, Google wants every system to be open. But what Google really want is every system to be open to Google so that Google can serve ads through every piece of technology. You know, the same way that the World Bank says, 'Oh, we want to give money to all these developing nations as long as they open their markets to first world activity. That means, we're going to give them money so that they allow a factory to be opened on their land, you know, we're going to give them money so they have the privilege of paying us back with interest.' And that's um that's not just openness, that's openness to a certain thing. So, I must applaud the Google Android and this great system and it's going to be on phones and all that, but they want to be open for a reason, you know, they understand that because they do basically have a monopoly right now um information and the way it's spread and the way it's categorised, the way we understand it, that the more open systems they can have, the fewer boundaries that anyone is allowed to erect to anything, then the fewer boundaries there are to Google. You know, the-, there's a myth online that what we're doing is free. All that's happened is the place that revenue and value is extracted from us has been shifted. So yes, I might download a movie for free from the internet, but who's made that movie? Someone who's bought a Macintosh and a Sony camera, made their movie and edited it on Final Cut that they paid for, and uploaded it with their, you know, Time Warner AT&T broadband and stuck it on YouTube, which is a Google-owned server. You know, they've paid nine corporations for the privilege of making and uploading a movie that they would've simply paid for before, to download and watch the movie. You know what I mean? I'm still paying Time Warner for movies, I'm just paying them now to make movies instead of to watch them.

Intv So 'free' is a myth?

Doug  'Free' is absolutely a myth. The only thing that-, the only thing that's changed is that there are new ways to extract value from people who are working. Nothing is-, nothing is free, nothing is free. You know, you are paying for your free Guardian, you're just paying for it by buying the computer and buying the online time, and upgrading your system, and getting the new computer and then buying the computer for your kid, you know, and then paying for the power. You are still paying, you're just paying different companies. Sometimes you're paying the same company. Sony owns music and computers, so they're selling you one thing to rob from the other side of their company, you know, but you're still paying. The only thing that's different, is things-, the only thing that's changed is that which was in scarcity, and that which was in abundance. So, the technology through which to watch the news was in such abundance by the 1980s that there were no American television manufacturers left by the late '80s, because everybody had a TV, they all lasted a long time, it didn't matter. Now, everybody's getting a new computer every year or two, or a new device, and a new iPhone and a new this, there's a tremendous market for that stuff, but the content is basically free because there's so many people in companies out there trying to make content, trying to write their articles. 


Doug      there's a real danger among er technology and media theorists today, in that they accept the sort of libertarian understanding of the market as a given, in reality, that they just assume that that's the way things work. They haven't looked at the history of money. They don't understand that making markets for scarce things is the result of having a kind of money that is released in a scarce way. This is a better way of saying it; for all these people's understanding of open source and programmes, they refuse to acknowledge that the money we use is also a programme, that it is a closed source programme. It's as if you woke up one day and all the computers had Microsoft Windows on it, you wouldn't know that there's any other operating system. Well the money we use is also an operating system that was invented during the Renaissance, and it was invented for a top down scarcity model of media and culture and technology and everything. Now we've got a decentralised technological system with computers all over the place and people creating value all over the place, but we're still using a 13th century money system. So you end up with these contradictions that guys like Chris Anderson call 'free', that means all the stuff is free! No, it doesn't mean it's free, it means we need to now develop an economic platform capable of dealing with the distributed decentralised value-creation economy. And that's not that-, I don't think that's too complex for a documentary. I mean I think that's an im-, you know what I mean? I think that's-


Doug      Things are free and things are devalued now. I can't get paid to write because there's so much writing out there. But this is a temporary stage, this is not a function of technology, but a function of economics. You know, the crash that we're going through now, this upset in central banking, is largely a result of the ability of people all throughout the periphery to create value without capital. That's a really strange thing. In the old days, if you wanted to create value you needed to go to the bank, borrow money, set up your factory and do this thing. Now you can create value without going to the bank, without getting that central capital upfront. That's what's created the confusion, that's what's upset the banks. There's no longer a market for their product, which is cash, so what do you do? Well, there's big wobble until that's figured out, and that's why we have this problem of the free. And this is not forever. In other words, journalism sucks now, music sucks now, media sucks now, because everyone can kind of make this stuff. The only reason everyone can make this stuff is because there's way too many outlets. You know, every time Britney Spears pops a zit there's 400 news vans outside her house to cover it, you know, and probably two or three news vans could easily cover her popping a zit enough for everybody. You know, the fact that there's all of this surplus um that does need to end, and some people will lose their jobs over it, and hopefully it will be the people who don't do it well who lose their jobs over it and the people who do do it well can stay.

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