Open Source in a Singularity

Open source development has changed the way that Internet users consume software. Hardware that’s free of patent restrictions is slowly becoming more common. Some historians have suggested that early aviation development was a type of open source development. While the computer subculture hadn’t yet existed, engineers in the earliest days of flight shared their plans with one another.

In a technological singularity, everything would essentially be open source. The idea of trademarks and patents would no longer exist. All information would be shared amongst one another freely. Open source development seems to be tapping into a natural thirst for knowledge. A state of shared consciousness wouldn’t have much shape for secrets.

That being said, the current intellectual property structure exists for a reason. Economics drive engineering at the current stage of development. Without these profit incentives, researchers wouldn’t feel the need to continue finding solutions to problems. The present system still has a place.

In fact, the idea of intimately sharing information on the level of a technological singularity seems disturbing. However, open source software is being traded on the Internet at this very moment. Scientists in the past freely traded resources amongst one another, and they made exciting discoveries because of it.

Image Credit: Ethernety on Deviant Art

Reference: Future Aircraft [PDF Download]

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  • It’s possible the singularity will also bring an era of post-scarcity (or at least make it less of a concern). I suppose if it’s going to make all software and technology open-source as you suggest, it would almost have to, just to be economically feasible.

    • Jason Carr

      Good point Scott. Long term, post-scarcity would be the ideal. Not a bad goal to shoot for even if we miss the mark a bit I suppose. I think that unfortunately, we are moving in the wrong direction in this regard today. Consider the way we’re squandering the resources of our planet right now for instance. Perhaps as we develop the capabilities to mine asteroids and/or other planetary bodies in the future, we may start moving in this direction. I don’t have much faith in humanity in this regard however…we always find a way to waste resources one way or another it seems.

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