October 22, 2005
On the Impact of Open Source
Yochai Benkler from Yale Law School talks to the PopTech audience about the implications of the growing open source world.
Says Yochai, "What is happening now is decentralized, non-market action, social sharing and exchange. You can do this with knowledge, culture, video and photo clips, given the way things are now distributed in society."
Social sharing and exchange as a modality of economic production are emerging. “We’re seeing decentralized authority and capacity to contribute to effective action, instead of property: “may I create?”
These new sources of behavior are creating new sources of competition. Examples: P2P – recording industry and free/open source versus Microsoft, and Wikipedia verus Groillier and Encarta, and Skype versus traditional telecoms. He describes Skype as a combination of storage, computation and transport shared among users to create a VoIP network with no one owning the infrastructure. This clearly is a fundamental shift in where capitalization comes from…..
“We’re seeing systems building up inside and outside the market to create new sources of competition. We’re now seeing a meshing of new production tools, i.e., movies transitioning to platforms for self expression, things like Craigs List and Technorati (to search for things that people have produced, a community has produced."
He references the old supply chain – it was linear and predictable based on property and availability. Now, we're seeing production coming from everyone…..”I have to make my community feel that if I’m using their inputs and outputs, that I’m not screwing them or the environment in order for this to work. We’ll need to start managing those inputs accordingly.”
He points out about Social Production:
--It’s a real fact, not a fad. It's a critical long term shift caused by the Internet.
--In some contexts, its more efficient than markets or firms.
--It's sustainable and growing fast
--It can also be a threat to and threatened by incumbent business models
--Intellectual property, telecoms, and other new funky laws are the battlefield over the institutional ecology.
He asks the audience? “What’s your business model and what are you doing in your business to support this transition and be prepared for it? Will you have a general purpose PC or will we have to sit down with Hollywood and clear every laptop to ensure copyright law is secure? What will we have to do in this transition period to make it work?”
We’re seeing the shift from consumers to users….not what they can just do for themselves but what they can do with others, i.e., creating a community and committing to a community to make new 'collective' things happen.”
This is true; there are so many new communities that are cropping up and we are being introduced to. In the long term, can we keep up with them all? I think we’ll clearly have to sift through and determine what priorities are, so we can choose and make not just 'more' impact but the right impact.
Tag: PopTech Tag: PopTech 2005Tag: Open Source Tag: VoIP
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