Huzzah! You tube has launched an academic channel! Now the masses will be exposed to the great ideas from Harvard, Berkeley, MIT and the University of Toledo? This comes two days after the launch of a site called Academic Earth that offers thousands of academic lecture in one convenient place.

Not sure what to make of this Dionysian Bacchanalia of knowlwedge at my fingertips. Let me play devil’s advocate to my own webtopian inclinations.  Does all this access to university lectures cheapen knowledge? If the years of accumulated knowledge required to give a careful, reflective treatment of the Civil War or The Origins of the Financial Crisis has no monetary value in the marketplace, will it provide a disincentive for people to acquire this knowledge to begin with? If I can get MIT lectures for free, what the point of MIT? Is academia facing the same dilemmas the music industry faces? Will it need to create a new business model to survive? If people get a taste of what MIT has to offer, will they’ll want to pay for more? Will the norm of putting public lectures on-line raise the bar so that all faculty have to bring their “A” game at all times (shudder)?