I'm just back from Oxford where I did a debate at the university's Internet Institute with Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger about the future of knowledge. As I explained in my Independent column today, there is an obvious irony about discussing the future of knowledge in Oxford, a place that architecturally and pedagogically epitomizes the pre-digital past of the knowledge business:
That crooked city of narrow doorways, iron gates and ubiquitous walls, after all, is about as democratic as the House of Lords. The old university is a protected, protective community of elites who have, for centuries, monopolised wisdom. Oxford represents the ivory tower business model for knowledge and it's been pretty much the only privileged game in town since 1263 when a wealthy landowner, Lord John de Balliol, founded Balliol, Oxford's founding College... MORE
That said, I'll be back in Oxford on June 13 to hear Tanya Byron speak at the Internet Insitute. And then I'll return once more in November for the SAID Business School "Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford" event. And i'll bring my (digital) camera too. In contrast with Silicon Valley, there remain many doorways, gates and walls to be photographed in Oxford. The world might be getting flatter in Bangalore and Beijing -- but it's still pretty mountaineous at Balliol College, Oxford.