Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Stay With Me On This One …

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It has occurred to me that humanity is kinda sorta following nature in this weirdly specific way.  Nature gives rain, sun, soil and seeds for food.  It gives trees and stone for homes.  It gives raw minerals for tools and machines.  Now, of course we have to use what it gives us wisely, sustainably.  But all of life reminds me of that Star Trek episode where Kirk found everything he needed to build a cannon.  He just had to provide the imagination to tie it all together.
OK, so I’m working on a project.  I need people to be able to understand languages I can’t speak.  And I need them to not only understand them, but speak them.  I need fancy software that lets me edit what they say.  I need music to put down under them so it creates a good mood.  I need a website to put this thing on so people can see it.  And I need the means to reach people around the world to tell them to go to the website and listen to the thing that speaks in their language.
Ten years ago, all of these things were available for a very high price, and I do mean very high.  I once called a translation service and was told an hour of translation would cost thousands of dollars.  The hardware to do the audio editing I want to do now fits in something as thin as a manila envelope and the software fits on a flash drive the size of a postage stamp.  Special websites not only translate words between languages but speak them too.  And royalty free music is everywhere.  In other words. at least in the developed world, culture has evolved to the point, thanks to open sourcing, where the new currency isn’t the tools themselves.  Like nature, it’s imagination.  If someone can take raw materials and turn them into something unique, that’s the triumph of Einstein’s quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  And as each piece of original creativity is absorbed into the world, it creates another step that somebody else can stand on to create another something that hopefully, has some real value.  I think that’s just amazing.

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Written by Interviewer

September 6, 2012 at 04:24

Posted in Scratchpad

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