By now we are all eagerly anticipating the polling results. Oh mirror, mirror on the wall, which of the two parties will get more votes? The party of the first part being, cat videos and the party of the second part being, dancing baby videos. Oh yeah, they may not be aggressively campaigning but there is a definite battle between cats and babies for the popular viewing vote. And it’s a close race. While funny cats doing stunts has garnered 21.2 million votes, a baby dancing to a Beyonce tune has pulled in 21.9 million votes – so far. But the voters can change that at any moment. Fortunately, both cat videos and dancing baby videos are free. The same cannot be said of everything on the Internet, which is why the idea of paywalls is also being hotly debated. Will the viewing public embrace paywalls or do they expect information to be freely available?
In the one corner, some believe that paywalls spell death for organizations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The Internet is about free access, they argue. Others believe that people who get free stuff will eventually pay for stuff they like because they will feel guilty. Whether it’s open source software, newspapers, online classes and iPhone apps from Starbucks, the discussion goes on. The latest instance is about two Stanford University professors offering a free online course on artificial intelligence. All of a sudden 84,000 people across the globe signed up. Then the whispering began. Stanford being a selective and expensive institution might just be treading in dangerous waters with free courses – or not. We don’t know the answer but we like the idea of an artificial intelligence class being taught by real, intelligent humans who use artificial intelligence in grading. And dancing babies are funnier. No cats are funnier. Oh well.
- New Media
- How To