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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Jan 30, 2024

Andrew Keen visits Google to discuss his book “The Cult of the Amateur.” The book discusses the grave consequences of today’s new participatory internet and reveals how it threatens our values, economy, and ultimately the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of our societies.

According to Keen, our most valued cultural institutions are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. Keen claims that “cut-and-paste” online culture, in which intellectual property is freely swapped, downloaded, remashed, and aggregated, threatens over 200 years of copyright protection and intellectual property rights, preventing artists, authors, journalists, musicians, and producers from earning a decent living.

In today’s self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion can publish a blog, post on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur has become dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented.

The very anonymity that the Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which predators and identity thieves can roam free. Keen’s book urges us to consider the consequences of blindly supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens traditional media and creative institutions.

Originally published in June of 2007.

Visit to watch the video.