Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Possibilities That Could Go Either Way

This is the second part of my series Chris Predicts the Future!

The collapse of the patent system. Patients are supposed to be used by inventors to protect their inventions and allow them to profit from them. It also allows others to see how the invention works in an effort foster further innovation. The patent system has gone a bit astray of late with some patents never being used to create anything. Instead they are used in litigation in an effort to win court cases against those infringing the so-called patents. There are entire legal firms dedicated to patient litigation - they are called patent trolls. These organisations never create anything, many of their patents are never used to create anything.

Some countries such as China have a poor record of enforcing patents and some Chinese companies have been accused of going through patents and simply stealing inventions - not giving the inventor a single cent.

These problems have led some companies to not use patients at all and instead they have started using secrecy to stop the theft of their ideas.

Large numbers of people have also come to believe that the patents system is immoral that it stifles innovation. They believe that an inventor automatically has a head start and all patents do is hold us back. In a world of additive manufacturing - I believe these people are right.

Many companies will be unable to make the adjustment if the patent system falls. The small-time inventor will thrive without fear that they can develop their inventions, sell them, and not worry about litigation.

New types of government. Many of the technologies that have been developed for the Internet could be used to create new forms of government such as democratic anarchy. In a democratic anarchy anybody is allowed to vote on legislation. This idea has been talked about seriously and explored in science fiction. No one really knows exactly how it would work. It would turn into a tyranny of the majority? Or will form a truly enlightened egalitarian society?

Further into the future the development of artificial intelligence could allow for a truly benevolent dictatorship. With an artificial intelligence making all the difficult decisions, without emotion or popularity coming into it - it would make the best decisions based on science that result in the greatest amount of happiness and well-being for the population. You never know.

Stay tuned for the finale Good Possibilities.

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