NYU’s Department of Culture & Communication (my department) is holding its annual Graduate Student Conference on November 11, 2005, where I will be on a panel on Google:
Don’t Be Evil: Political, Culture and Ethical Aspects of Google
Google has become a ubiquitous tool for searching virtually all information on the Web, including websites, news reports, academic articles, images and video files, as well as maps with local data, and most recently, books and library collections. Google’s mission, stated simply and innocuously, is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Yet as these latter examples indicate, Google’s pursuit of that mission is evolving. No longer merely indexing the Web as it exists, Google is now “growing” the Web by proactively expanding the scope of what can be indexed by digitizing analog information from the “material” world.
From a company whose motto is “Do no evil,” it is perhaps easy to understand why Google’s methods for organizing, distributing and accessing information has been met with widespread enthusiasm. This panel discussion, however, will challenge that willingness to embrace the Google-paradigm, and make apparent some of the political, cultural and value implications of such a wholesale commitment.
The panelsts are:
- Katherine Behar, Searching for the G/local: From Google Maps to Psychogeography
- Michael Zimmer, The Value & Ethical Implications of the Google Information Interface
- Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything: The Print/Library Controversy and the Future of Copyright
- Respondent: Helen Nissenbaum