09 September 2007

Open Sourcing the Singularity

Fab post of a presentation made yesterday by Jamais Cascio at the disconcertingly-named Singularity Summit (what - does it all fold up into a black hole at the end, or something?). Here's the punchline/punchpar:

My preferred pathway would be to "open source" the singularity, to bring in the eyes and minds of millions of collaborators to examine and co-create the relevant software and models, seeking out flaws and making the code more broadly reflective of a variety of interests. Such a proposal is not without risks. Accidents will happen, and there will always be those few who wish to do others harm. But the same is true in a world of proprietary interests and abundant secrecy, and those are precisely the conditions that can make effective responses to looming disasters difficult. With an open approach, you have millions of people who know how dangerous technologies work, know the risks that they hold, and are committed to helping to detect, defend and respond to crises. That these are, in Bill Joy's term, "knowledge-enabled" dangers means that knowledge also enables our defense; knowledge, in turn, grows faster as it becomes more widespread. This is not simply speculation; we've seen time and again, from digital security to the global response to SARS, that open access to information-laden risks ultimately makes them more manageable.

It's true, he's said it before, but maybe not so eloquently.

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