There’s an old internet joke that Google actually fulfills all of the requirements and definitions of our traditional idea of “God.” It hardly needs explaining why the search engine that process a truly staggering and unprecedented amount of data every moment would qualify.
Joke though it may be, a new documentary is taking a look at one of Google’s most quietly ambitious attempts to swallow up the intellectual sum of all humanity: their book scanning project. Tackling the dangers of monopoly, the copyright concerns, and all the possible advantages of such a future wherein Google has its hands on all the human knowledge there is, Google & The World Brain will premiere at Sundance this year. It’s hard to tell if we’re barreling towards utopia or dystopia oftentimes, but we’re certainly barreling somewhere. And if anyone is in the driver’s seat, it’s Google.
Take a look at the trailer.
Director Ben Lewis has this to say about his motivation for making the film:
“I wanted to make a film that alerted an audience to perils, as well as the paradise of the Internet,” he says in a statement from the film’s press notes. “The ten-year story of Google Books offered me a narrative that acts as a spine for the film as well as a strong vocabulary of visual images. In terms of the narrative, there is a terrific arc. Google started out scanning amidst huge enthusiasm for the idea of creating a universal digital library. Gradually problems emerged – about copyright, national cultures and surveillance. Then there is a handful of heroes, authors and academics in America, Germany, France, China and Japan, who dared to take on the giant Google, the world’s most successful corporation ever! It is like David v Goliath.”
Source | Documentary Channel (via First Showing)