A major Technological Renascence is coming about as more companies join the philosophy of open software and hardware...
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk decided to give away his company's patents for free. Musk said he wanted to inspire creativity and accelerate innovation. He wants to make electric car industry better by taking down barriers. Anybody can now take Tesla technology and build on it.
GE has released thousands of its patents and new technologies to the Quirky community, trying to inspire them to develop new consumer products using those patents.
The Lulzbot 3D printer company endorses Free Software and Open Source Hardware. They want you to modify their product. Lulzbot recognized CT Hackerspace's commitment to open source when they were chosen to receive a free 3D printer. “The Lulzbot Mini 3D printer will be a great tool to have in pursuing future inventions and creations by both our members and our surrounding community” says CTH president William Saturno.
Writer Steven Johnson discusses the way great ideas have been born throughout history in his TED talk on “What Is Original?”
The enlightened period of Europe began in coffee houses in the mid 1600's. The English coffee house changed forever the safe daytime drink of choice from alcohol to coffee and tea. Creative minds of the day would gather there, get stimulated, and bounce ideas around, resulting in an explosion of advancements and inventions. The culture back then was to collaborate freely. Some of the greatest inventions in history happen because people share their ideas, allowing people to build upon them. He states his case that ideas are cobbled together with whatever bits and pieces we have at hand into new forms. “The most effective forms of creativity happen when we borrow and re-purpose ideas in a new and different way. Re-imagine something old in a new context.” And that is how we get something new. Mostly they fade into view over a period of time as we think back.
Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson says “nothing is truly original and that our most celebrated creators take other people's ideas and transform them into something new.”
I see the Internet, along with Hackerspaces and Maker Fairs, taking the place of the old coffee shops. These are places for intelligent people to learn, share and help create our future. Ideas turn into innovations and inventions incrementally more then the ah-hah moments we see depicted in media. Most often we take what we already know, combine it with what we hear others are doing, and come up with novel improvements. Friendly competition while cooperating helps us build upon each others insights.
Innovation happens better in groups. The Hackerspaces have an advantage over a coffee shop by also being a workshop to build prototypes and test concepts in a group setting. Combine that with an internet that never closes and the group gets really big. A large part of the content, and even the internet itself is free and open source. There is a case to be made that we should spend more time connecting with the idea rather then protecting it. It is no wonder that hackerspaces are opening across the nation and around the world. Your local library is also re-inventing itself to stay current with today’s needs.
You can't help but become inspired when you attend a Maker Fair. I found people that were there to primarily share knowledge. The sense of giving back was strong amongst this group. Many had other ways of supporting themselves and were primarily there to show everyone how cleaver they are and challenge you to take it to the next level. It is also a great recruiting agent; showing their cause and purpose and inviting any to join in their mission. Great minds do think alike.
Ben Franklin did not patent any of his ideas. He did the opposite - by releasing, as widely as possible, anything he came up with. Ben looked to “attract the attentions of the ingenious”.
Seeing people openly cooperating with one another for the greater good gives me hope for humanity. There are many problems we need to solve. Figure out how you can be a part of this New Age of Enlightenment.