[ExI] Fwd: [Cosmic Engineers] Re: It is all free! The improbable dream?

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 20:01:28 UTC 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 2:49 PM
Subject: [Cosmic Engineers] Re: It is all free! The improbable dream?
To: cosmic-engineers at googlegroups.com

On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 6:56 AM, Philippe Van Nedervelde
<philipvn at gmail.com> wrote:
> With my Foresight Institute rep hat on, I'll say that things will be incomparable cheaper to *produce*. That does not necessarily mean they will all be "free" to the end-user, the "consumer".
> Yes, generic basics, staple goods may become virtually free.
> But brand products and other products with added-value design or with IP (licenses) involved... will still cost. Some may even still cost (relatively) a lot.
> An example: you will still pay something for your future nanofactured iPhone 7G S or newest model of all-electric newest model Ferrari. The structure of that payment will be, overwhelmingly, for licenses and "brand" value, with (nearly) insignificant percentages for assembly, handling, materials and other classic cost-places.

Actually, I would not bet on this.  The designers/integrators will be
rewarded for their innovation.  But with distributed MNT, counter-top
MNT machines, only the information - the actual desing bits is needed
beyond what the MNT unit and its matter energy feeds can handle.  In
short information is the thing, is all "things" except for raw matter
and energy.    It will not be in our interest to propagade too many
limitations on information access and distribution.  It both
impoverishes us through decreased innovation and greatly endangers us
through more and more draconian attempts to for information corrals
and boundaries in a world of more and more capable information
appliances up to and including matter printers / replicators.
This cannot be done.  Eventually our concepts of IP must change
drastically if we are to have a viable future.

> Note that Eric (Drexler), Rob (Freitas), Ralph (Merkle), Josh (Storrs Hall), Christine (Peterson) etc. never said or wrote that everything would become "free".

How is that relevant to whether many more things than we may think
today can, should or possibly can become free?

> Note that the ways things are going now, acquiring your (personal?) nanofacturing device is more likely than not to cost you something too. At least initially, early on, this may even be a pretty penny. It's just in my proposals for an explicitly philanthropic "Abundance For All" project that your personal nanofactory would not cost you anything.

For sure there will not be an instaneous transition.  However, I think
we must begin to lay the groundwork with more and more liberalization
of IP laws and envisioning the impilcations of evolving technology and

> There's also the issue of feedstock. My preference would be for the nanofactories to have -either built-in or as a companion device- the ability to disassemble waste etc. into feedstock needed for the assembly of new products. But others, for various reasons, are seriously considering the option of making a business out of selling feedstock to nanofactory owners.

Likely some level of feed will be a public utility.  Limitations on
feedstock to lock in customers should not be allowed.  Lock ins of
various kinds so common in corporate world today need to be seen as
limiting our future viability.

> They reckon that might yield them a (quite lucrative) business model like that of printer cartridges, razor blades and after-market car parts and accessories.

Printer cartridges are one of most regressive business practices you
could bring up as an example.  :)

Yes it will not initially all be free.  Some things may never be.  But
anything that can be made from energy, raw matter and information
about construction will someday be as cheap and easy to duplicate as
anything that is just bits today.   In that world saying that the
creators of a particular arrangement should totally control how this
information should be used and its replication into material form does
not make a lot of sense and is not enforceable without a police state
of terrifying power.   Yes, we need to find a way of attribution that
works and a way to reward innovation.    But IP as we currently have
it is very unlikely to be the correct way to do this going forward.

- samantha

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- Bryan
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