Open Source Government
The technological world we live in today is far different from decades past for more reasons than just the old cliché of, “Yesterday I had a typewriter, today I have Siri”. Up until about 15-20 years ago there was a distinct and prevailing philosophy that you had to own your discoveries. When Thomas Edison perfected the electric light bulb in 1879, do you think any fiber of his being was aching to share his new-found knowledge with the world? Hell no. He was probably halfway out the door en route to the patent office with dollar signs in his eyes.
Of course this philosophy is still prevalent today, afterall, it’s quite logical to want to seek as much personal gain as possible from your own innovation. But with the advent of the Linux operating system back in the 1990’s, and later Mozilla in the 2000’s, we’ve seen a huge shift in ideals toward open innovation. That is, anyone can develop, distribute, and contribute to a project, for free. Why would anyone in their right mind do this? There are a myriad of reasons and every developer has their own, but that’s really another article for another day.
What I really wanted to get into is the prospect of how this ideology could be applied to other aspects of society. And since it is election season, what better aspect than that of government! I share with you a fantastic TED talk by Clay Shirky about the internet and democracy. Happy Halloween and be sure to take the quiz on ReggieNet!