Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Technology and a Better World

The Times Editorial Observer featured Make Magazine’s Mister Jalopy today, who issues a simple request:

Please make it easier for us to tinker with your stuff.

Yes, many of us marvel at technological wonders, but others want to engage it, play with it, and even make it better.

‘Mister Jalopy’s latest mission is taking the Maker mentality to manufacturers, urging them to make products that consumers can easily maintain, repair, repurpose or even reinvent… “I really want companies to start thinking about shared innovation,” he said, “to realize that they’re not selling to customers, but to collaborators.”’

Collaborative development is certainly gaining foothold, and authors Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine are tireless advocates of extremely relaxed IP law. Wouldn’t it be great if our products were built so that they are inherently customizable? It would require a lot of public knowledge about product design, though hacked iPhones are a testament to how long secrets are kept.

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