The Internet

Guy Burgess

Co-Director of the University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium and the Beyond Intractability Project

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

University education, professional training programs of one sort or another. Basically non-Internet-based things. For example, if you have a conflict problem, and you also usually have to deal with these things in a really short time frame, so something appears and you've got to deal with it within a few days, it's not something you get to mull over for months or years. If you go to the University and say, "I've got this horrible conflict problem," and they'll say, "Well we have degree programs, you can apply next fall and by next spring we'll let you know if you in and we only want a few years of your life." Then they probably won't quite wind up teaching you what you needed to know anyway. Professional training programs are a little better, but you call up even the good ones and they'll want $1,000 or $1,500. They'll want a week and they'll have semi-one-size-fits-all programs, then the nearest one is going to be three cities over and it's not going to be for two months and it's not going to talk about what you're really interested in. You can go get books, but books tend to be, you have a print run and if it's going to be relatively accessible it's also got to be written for a lot of audiences, so books tend to be not too terribly specialized. The mass media in the days of newspapers and television it's hard to be able to find a story that's about just what you're interested in at the time you're interested in it. But the Web can basically deliver custom-tailored, instant mini-lessons to people at far less cost than any other means of communication, it's still not universally accessible, but it's to the point where Web-based information is cheaper than anything else. And it's a whole different way of writing and thinking and managing a body of knowledge. We've been working to figure out how to do it, we're getting better, but it isn't easy. It's theoretically possible.