Yesterday one of the worlds leading technological innovators, Tesla Motors, announced it would open up free access to all of it’s technology patents.
I’ve never really been a fan of the patent-enforcement industry.
To me the idea of preventing a technological breakthrough from being used widely in society is counter-productive. The purpose of scientific discovery is not to line the pockets of investors, but to advance the efficiency and improve the lives of the whole human race, and indeed the lives of other animals too. So this is a smart move, in my opinion.
When a company as big as Tesla says the current patent system is not working, and genuinely does something to get around it, that sets a precedent.
The announcement comes a day after Tesla met with BMW to discuss technology sharing. Could you imagine if BMW followed Tesla’s lead and made its technology patents available to competitors?
I’ve always been a fan of the idea of open sourcing. I’ve come to rely on a wide variety of free, open source programs, apps and other online tools over the years. In fact we all have, it’s just most of us don’t realise it.
So what commonly used stuff is the result of open-source programming?
- The Linux Operating System which runs 95% of the worlds supercomputers
- Android Operating system (built on the Linux kernal), running close to 50% of all mobile phones world wide in 2014
- Apache HTTP servers which serve up 53% of all websites globally
- MySQL the most popular database server world-wide, serving up the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and many more
- Mozilla Firefox once the 2nd most popular web browser in the world
- WordPress the most popular blogging platform, also used for this blog!
That list might make your eyes glaze over and think “what is this nerd talking about”.. But if the developers of ANY of these systems had decided to play copyright/patent wars, instead of open-sourcing, today’s advanced internet would still be years away. Kudos to them for putting collective progress ahead of personal financial gain.
This sort of thinking give me hope for the future of the human race.
Advancements in renewable energy technology, in the electrification of transport and the ‘DIY revolution’ being provided through YouTube videos all offer hope. If accurate information can be shared widely, intelligent people can collaborate and reach solutions to serious problems much more efficiently. They can share these solutions with us via a simple, instructive YouTube videos, and we can put them into effect very rapidly.
And all this is possible thanks to smart people deciding to work together and put communal progress ahead of personal profit taking.
And here’s a treat for making it all the way to the bottom of my post, a video of a Tesla Model S Performance Edition in action!