When technology changes faster than society can adapt

Thomas Malone inspired me with this bit:

If you want me to be a little bit grandiose about this, I’ll tell you what I wrote on my college application when I was a senior in high school.  I said I wanted to help solve the problems created by technology changing faster than society could adapt. — Thomas W. Malone http://edge.org/conversation/collective-intelligence

The current US solution to this problem is the modern “Intellectual Property” system. It operates by picking a “winner”– the IP owner– and giving that person exclusive control of the situation created by the changed technology. If something else new happens then another IP owner is chosen. Repeat until the changes stop. The IP owner is expected to demand payment for use of the IP or otherwise impose restraint and order on the use of the new technology.

The owner selection process favors incumbent IP owners of similar technology. The IP owner of an original work is given arbitrary powers over derivative works so further technological change that builds on the IP owners property is restrained for a time. An IP owner that does not or cannot exercise restraint on derivative works risks being replaced in the market by a derived IP with a different owner.

 

 

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