Prediction: The Next Generation of Bio & Tech Inventions Might Be Open-Sourced
Status: Not Happening
Collectively, we are witnessing the beginning of a new open source movement. The same rebellious explosion that created Linux, Firefox, and Wikipedia is breaking out in the science community. Instead of companies like Monsanto owning patents on seeds used to make food, the next generation of bio and tech inventions might just be open sourced. There is still room for companies to play alongside but in a different way. One way is to sponsor Maker facilities and competitions, build services and add-ons for biopunk inventions, facilitate project collaboration, and provide commercialization expertise for the gems that emerge. The Discovery Channel and shows like Mythbusters and BattleBots will continue to fuel this trend.
Econovation, 2011 (p 139)
There have been selective examples of open-source science and innovation, but realistically, this quote from”Why Monopoly Is The Future & We Love It” pretty much sums up where this is going:
Sweet, innocent open source options – like Firefox, OpenOffice and Linux – eventually get smothered by vicious tycoons dressed in harmless hoodies.
There’s only so much freelancers can do – or be. They need capital – for equipment, sustenance, staff – to do long-term, substantive research. All the capital-holders that can offer the right incentives are privatized and centralized. And will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Some progress in this space:
- Scientists want to crowdsource the discovery of new antibiotics, Dec 2013
- uBiome Raises $4.5M From Angel Investors, Andreessen Horowitz To Crowdsource Microbiome Research, Aug 2014
- If science is going to save the world, we need to make it open, Jun 2016
- The citizen scientist who finds killers from her couch, Jun 2018