And so it came to pass… Microsoft put together a piece of hardware that was almost instantly hacked into lots of different things. They thought they were selling a game-controller, but actually they were selling a platform.
Like Lego back in the day… Microsoft weren’t entirely sure how to react to this. Their initial take was
“Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”
IE: Out of control IP bollocks again. But then (for whatever reason… the cool kids took over?) they backed off… and now they’re celebrating the diversity of innovation that arose. This is their “Kinect Effect” page… a screen-grab below in case they delete it.
Microsoft’s Vision Of A World Without IP:
They’re quite deservedly proud of what’s being done – it’s not just people using it to control micro-copters, there are real, life-saving and enhancing benefits here.
Now Kinect is fairly unique in the range of possibilities it can offer – but what Microsoft have inadvertently done here, is offer a glimpse at what the world would be like if EVERY innovation was re-useable by other people. As it should be. If we abolished the illogical, immoral and detrimental-to-human-progress-and-happiness notion of “Intellectual Property” completely.
You can never tell how an innovation is going to be reused down the track… what starts out as a cute toy, winds up being a mechanism for a space-elevator, and any idea that if you innovate (based on thousands of years of prior-innovation) you have the right to choke upstream innovation, is just wrong. Everything should be GPL… or better still, public domain. Make money from things or services, not by creating micro-monopolies on ideas. That’s just evil.
Sure we need to make money (for the moment) – but making it by choking the innovation of others is immoral and unproductive… especially as this “control of information” aggregates upstream and is specifically used by corporations to stifle competition… which it is.
And in case you’ve been indoctrinated into thinking that people don’t create unless they’re paid, this sentence you’re reading has been written by me for free, is served via WordPress (which runs 20% of the world’s new, active websites) which runs over PHP, Mysql and Linux – which runs the majority of the world’s web servers. And there are fortunes being made from these things… but it comes from the world of abundance, not artificial scarcity. Human innovation is not a scarce commodity.
Microsoft have accidentally opened a window onto the world of abundance.