Patents and Copyright Hinder Advancement

In the last couple of centuries, the advancement of our knowledge and technology has been slowing down. Not because everything that could be invented has already been invented, or because people are running out of ideas. No, It's due to artificial ideological limits that silly humans are imposing on themselves.

Once upon a time, anyone could take an idea and improve upon it. Then the next person would take that new version and make further refinements. It was widely accepted and expected to have your invention copied and improved in such a way. This cycle would endlessly repeat it's self for hundreds if not thousands of years. It's the reason we have all the conveniences and luxuries of the modern era. It's called the evolution of technology. Having your idea copied was a form of flattery, and was in many cultures considered the ultimate reward.

Examples of this are all over the place, many of you have heard of the smartphone. The device as it is today could have never been created from nothing. Go back far enough into the late 90's and you'll come across a neat little device called a PDA. At some point, someone combined the PDA with a cell phone, and created the smartphone. Upon further investigation, you see the PDA was an evolution of the personal organizer, and so forth.

At some point in human history there was a shift in thinking. Instead of creating for the greater good, some groups of humans began to watch out for there own self interest. The modern world came up with a new idea called patents and copyright. This concept of putting ownership on knowledge was intended to encourage people to come up with ideas for profit, thus speeding up advancement in technology. The concept of knowledge being a form of property is very popular and well understood in Western cultures.

Unfortunately, supporters of the concept (patents and copyrights) fail to realize that ideas and technology can only evolve from existing ideas and technology. It's impossible to create something out of nothing. As a result, technology is not advancing nearly as fast as it used to or could.

Instead we have mega corporations suing each other after one takes the others product and makes an improved derivative. So, while the phrase "it's wrong to take someone's idea and make it better" may sound completely absurd, it's a 100% accurate description of the harsh reality in which we find ourselves today.

By editor on 23 February 2012 |