Hitting the airwaves

Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt

Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt

Scroll.in excerpts a section of the conversation between information activist Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt taken from Assange’s When Google Met WikiLeaks.

“The naming of things is very important. The naming of human intellectual work and our entire intellectual record is possibly the most important thing to be done. We all have words for different objects, like “tomato.” We use a simple word, “tomato,” instead of actually describing every little aspect of this goddamn tomato. Because it takes too long to describe this tomato precisely, we use an abstraction so that we can think and talk about it. And we do that also when we use URLs. Those are frequently used as a short name for some human intellectual content. We build all of our civilization, other than on bricks, on human intellectual content. We currently have a system with URLs where the structure we are building our civilization on is the worst kind of melting Plasticine imaginable. That’s a big problem.

This issue of preserving politically salient intellectual content while it is under attack is central to what WikiLeaks does, because that’s what we are after. We’re after those bits that people are trying to suppress because we suspect, usually rightly, that they’re expending economic work on suppressing those bits because they perceive that those bits are going to induce some change.”

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