[ExI] Fwd: [Open Manufacturing] Slashdot | On the Humble Default

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Wed Jun 24 13:08:58 UTC 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Paul D. Fernhout <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com>
Date: Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Subject: [Open Manufacturing] Slashdot | On the Humble Default
To: openmanufacturing at googlegroups.com

Hugh Pickens sends along Kevin Kelly's paean to the default. :
"One of the greatest unappreciated inventions of modern life is the default.
'Default' is a technical concept first used in computer science in the 1960s
to indicate a preset standard. ... Today the notion of a default has spread
beyond computer science to the culture at large. It seems such a small
thing, but the idea of the default is fundamental... It's hard to remember a
time when defaults were not part of life. But defaults only arose as
computing spread; they are an attribute of complex technological systems.
There were no defaults in the industrial age. ... The hallmark of flexible
technological systems is the ease by which they can be rewired, modified,
reprogrammed, adapted, and changed to suit new uses and new users. Many (not
all) of their assumptions can be altered. The upside to endless flexibility
and multiple defaults lies in the genuine choice that an individual now has,
if one wants it. ... Choices materialize when summoned. But these abundant
choices never appeared in fixed designs. ... In properly designed default
system, I always have my full freedoms, yet my choices are presented to me
in a way that encourages taking those choices in time — in an incremental
and educated manner. Defaults are a tool that tame expanding choice."

We can ask what the defaults should be for open manufactured products? Like
defaulting to cradle-to-cradle recyclable design?

Or the default licensing for any copyright is open (as it used to be before
1989 when notice was required)?

Or the default behavior in academia is sharing (like it used to be before
the Bayh-Dole Act)?

Maybe a big problem with manufacturing and design today is that the defaults
are wrong?

--Paul Fernhout

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- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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