Full text of Alain de Botton, author and television presenter, on The News: A User’s Manual at Talks@Google conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – Alain de Botton on The News – A User’s Manual at Talks at Google
It’s a real pleasure to be here, not least because this book was written on Google Docs. Is anyone here — who here is on — are you guys building it here? It is the most wonderful tool. And actually a book before this, called Art as Therapy, I co-wrote with a colleague in Tasmania on Google Docs. And we would work simultaneously. And it would not have been possible without your work. So really from my heart, thank you. You guys are doing a great job.
What I want to talk about today is a book which is all about information and how we are categorizing it and using it. So it’s kind of a Google topic, very much. But the kind of information that I’m talking about is news, news information. We’re very confused I think as a society as to the way we are using news. I think it’s one of the most inefficient uses of our time. Of anything that we do in the day, the way that we access information through this thing, this massive entity called the news, right, is full of redundancy. It’s full of quirks. It’s full of perversions. It’s not working as it should. There’s an enormous opportunity to make news go better. And that’s what my book is about. Trying to imagine how, in a different range of areas, we could make news go better. Because I think it’s terrible at the moment. Not terrible, I’m being hyperbolic. But not great.