What would happen if every single book on earth was accessible on a single website? It almost happened.
The Google Books Project codenamed Project Ocean was an ambitious one. It would give you access to the full text of everything ever written. And you would not just be able to read them but search and copy paste them. But the universal library is not to be. A legal agreement that would have changed the fate of books was rejected by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“In August 2010, Google put out a blog post announcing that there were 129,864,880 books in the world. The company said they were going to scan them all.
Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way. This particular moonshot fell about a hundred-million books short of the moon. What happened was complicated but how it started was simple: Google did that thing where you ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and forgiveness was not forthcoming. Upon hearing that Google was taking millions of books out of libraries, scanning them, and returning them as if nothing had happened, authors and publishers filed suit against the company, alleging, as the authors put it simply in their initial complaint, ‘massive copyright infringement.’ “
To know more about the Authors Guild v. Google fiasco, read Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria by James Somers.
Science facilitates ideas like these. Take another one- what if you upload a book to your brain, what then? While Google has in its database millions of books that cannot be read, another idea by futurists suggests that our brains ‘might someday interface directly with non-biological forms of intelligence, possibly with the help of nano-bots that travel through our capillaries.’
This means you longer have to read War and Peace. Besides the copyright issues involved if books can be uploaded to your brain, another issue the author talks about is relevance. What would a book like The Brothers Karamazov mean if was in your brain already. Part of the beauty of a book comes from rereading it at different times in your life so that new meanings come forth.
Read the story What If We Could Upload Books to Our Brains? by Cathy O’Neil.