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Google and the World Brain

  • Directed by Ben Lewis
  • United Kingdom/Germany/Spain, 2013, 90 mins., English/French/Spanish/German/Catalan

Lewis’s engaging documentary uses science fiction writer H.G. Wells’s prophetic declarations of a “complete planetary memory for all mankind,” or a “World Brain,” as his springboard. Talking with librarians, Google engineers, and futurists worldwide, his film offers a big-picture examination of the ambitious Google Book Scanning Project, which in its first decade has now captured over 30 million texts. Lewis travels the globe, from the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, to the 11th-century monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain, to capture the vast undertaking and to contemplate the future of libraries, technology, money, and intellectual property. More than just algorithms and tech, Google and the World Brain is about the dream of building “a library to last forever” and the true cost of attaining that dream.

Genres: Documentary