Dec 24, 2009
Circumventing Amazon‘s Kindle Digital Restriction Management (DRM) earlier this week may be a small revolution and a new path into turning the human knowledge into something collective, distributional and more fair. The electronic readers, such as the Kindle, provide an alternative which is cheaper, efficient and comfortable to read books and convert them into a part of the new found culture. it is not a coincidence that Israeli publishers are trying to create their own electronic reader; they know that they may find themselves out of business if they remain in paper distribution; therefore, and following Amazon’s conduct when wiping books off its clients’ Kindle (and Ironically, it was George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty Four), a new need for ownership of technology came to effect.
Circumventing the copy-protection, of course, allows more than ever the sharing of books. If, over a year ago, I offered The Train Arrangement where books from the public domain would be printed and left it trains so that passengers would read them in their spare time; the conversion of books into commodities, even if making the books cheaper in value, allows making the books available to the public. (Thanks, Nati Davidi). In fact, creating a software that could link all these devices and make all the books, knowledge, literature and encyclopedias available and readable, will allow a distribution of knowledge and mobility of ideas.
The only question is whether the book publishers, which were fond of their readers up to now, will be hostile like the movie industry?
Feb 28, 2009
Amazon’s Kindle was a big copyright fuss; Kindle was an electronic book reading apparatus which enabled users to read books, including reading them aloud via a text-to-speech mechanism. However, after a few press releases and maybe legal threats from the book publishers, Amazon forfeited and removed the text-to-speech, and announced that only authors that will specifically request it may be read aloud by Kindle.
However, Neil Gaiman‘s hypothesis in favour of Amazon was actually fascinating. The Argument began when Roy Blount Jr. stated that The AudioBook were actually being replaced by elegant text-to-speech alogrithms. He explained that the advanced speech abilities today actually harm their ability to make the fiscal benefit from the added value. However, Gaimen ansewerd him by sending his readers to listen to a real audiobook and explaining that “[N]ow imagine a world in which someone sits with a novel on the screen and carefully codes every character and tone of voice, every emotion. Imagine the time involved, and the effort involved in making something that, no matter how good it ever gets, will not be as good as a person reading it. This isn’t teaching a computer to play chess”.
Gaiman’s text, unfortunately, misses the truth and reminds me of Prof. Jefferson Lister‘s oratation criticising Alan Turing‘s concept of Artificial Intelligence. Lister (quoted here) said that : “‘Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain — that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its successes, grief when its valves fuse, be warmed by flattery, be made miserable by its mistakes, be charmed by sex, be angry or depressed when it cannot get what it wants”
Lister and Gaiman’s err is reasonable, and it’s using simple induction assuming that the existing technology cannot develop anyway but linear and that computing abilities to analyse text will never be good enough. But what if it will? what will happen after technology will progress well enough to read sonnets in a real manner and we shall teach it to know pain and write such sonnets when it’s valves fuse? shall Gaiman still support the technology or will it forfeit?