Applications and Policy Issues
Moderator: Bill Raduchel
AOL Time Warner
The Power of Democratized Information
Dr. Raduchel opened the session by groping for a definition of the New Economy: “Do we have something here?” he asked. “Is it different? How do we sustain it? How do we share it?” He recalled an economics professor who asked his class to name the most important technology for sustaining the industrial revolution in Britain. The professor’s answer was a distillery to make gin— because millions of people could not have undergone the enormous personal dislocations of the industrial revolution, from agrarian to urban life, without the comfort of gin.
He saw a parallel in the dislocations of the New Economy, especially for those who are not fortunate enough to live at the frontier of technological development. He mentioned that when he was working at Xerox, they measured the number of times that documents were copied at the point where they were first copied. The results were surprising; what was being copied was not usually an original but “a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.” In other words the copier began to spread and democratize information in a way the Internet is doing even more effectively today.
Remarking on the importance of changing practices, he told a story dating