Star Trek In The Age Of Intellectual Property

from the it-would-be-quite-a-bit-different dept

Over the years, plenty of people have used the Star Trek: TNG "Replicator" analogy to try to discuss intellectual property issues. I recall writing a piece using that as the central construct for a magazine article (that got spiked, unfortunately) nearly a decade ago. Over the years I've mentioned it here or there on the site, including in a discussion about how such a replicator would likely, contrary to the belief of many, create more new jobs. The argument there was that by reducing the input costs for lots of products, there would also be increased demand for absolutely everything surrounding those products that couldn't be replicated.

Of course, not everyone thinks so. Matthew Yglesias has been drawing some attention to a piece that Peter Frase wrote at the end of last year, in which he went through a thought exercise in which he discussed the world of the replicator... plus intellectual property:
This is the quality of intellectual property law that provides an economic foundation for anti-Star Trek: the ability to tell others how to use copies of an idea that you “own”. In order to get access to a replicator, you have to buy one from a company that licenses you the right to use a replicator. (Someone can’t give you a replicator or make one with their replicator, because that would violate their license). What’s more, every time you make something with the replicator, you also need to pay a licensing fee to whoever owns the rights to that particular thing. So if the Captain Jean-Luc Picard of anti-Star Trek wanted “tea, Earl Grey, hot”, he would have to pay the company that has copyrighted the replicator pattern for hot Earl Grey tea. (Presumably some other company owns the rights to cold tea.)

This solves the problem of how to maintain for-profit capitalist enterprise, at least on the surface. Anyone who tries to supply their needs from their replicator without paying the copyright cartels would become an outlaw, like today’s online file-sharers. But if everyone is constantly being forced to pay out money in licensing fees, then they need some way of earning money, and this brings up a new problem. With replicators around, there’s no need for human labor in any kind of physical production.
He goes on to discuss what kinds of jobs would be left in such a world, and it's pretty much lawyers and marketers and not much in between. There would be a few people needed to create the new things that could then be replicated, but he argues that wouldn't be a big moneymaker, since you could just crowdsource the best ideas for free.

Of course, I think he leaves out a few things. I would imagine there'd be a good business in being a replicator repairman, for example. However, as we've pointed out for years with digital content, every new abundance tends to create new scarcities, and there will always be new opportunities to build products and services around those scarcities. Of course, sometimes it's difficult to predict what those new offerings might be, but we've yet to discover a new abundance that didn't create massive new markets, so I have trouble believing that an abundance of physical goods would suddenly stop that general principle.

Obviously, if it's easy to get tangible goods, it's likely that most of the new jobs would be in services, rather than goods, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, to even have this happen, we'd have to get past the intellectual property hurdle, that the estate of Gene Roddenberry might claim rights over your replicator...

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 6:44pm

    "This solves the problem of how to maintain for-profit capitalist enterprise. Anyone who tries to supply their needs from their replicator without paying the copyright cartels would become an outlaw"

    The government setting up artificial gates for the rich to collect monopoly rents is not fricken capitalism. Intellectual property is NOT a free market. It's the opposite of any free market. Sitting back and collecting money because the government is holding the threat of prison over your "customer's" head is not a flipping free market. Why is this so hard for people to grasp?!

     

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    Brian Schroth (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    How sad is it that we think about whether a replicator would "create jobs"? A replicator, an invention which would instantly revolutionize civilization as we know it and allow us all to live lives of leisure and comfort...and we sit here thinking about whether we'll still be able to waste away our lives doing our 40 hours per week of drudgery!

    Fuck that! Replicator technology would eliminate jobs- and that's a good thing!

     

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    AW (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 6:55pm

    Now I feel like a nerd

    In star Trek the patterns are stored the same way recipes would be. Replicators are not common property but, are government property paid for by the Federation. The replicators are set up with patterns often by the government, by people in the government so would fall under public domain. While people in the Star Trek universe could acquire vast amounts of wealth, there is no point. All your main needs are provided for, free healthcare, food, building supplies as long as you have the base ingredients needed. The things that were needed are base ingredients, so unless you need something exotic, you're pretty much covered.

    The whole economy is essentially a utopian communism. With rations being provided and a sense of responsibility taken very serious by the population at large. There is a fundamental change in people brought on by years of war that almost killed everyone and salvation in realizing that the universe is a heck of a lot bigger than we realized. The government is a planned economy and civil rights are highly prized.

    So essentially Star Trek is Americans without greed. There ISN'T any IP, because there doesn't need to be. What's the point of locking everything up when there's nothing to be gained? You create because you truly love to do it and you want the prestige that comes from knowing that everyone else knows who you are.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    I have another question: If we had the technology to duplicate almost any object using only a blob of generic material and a certain amount of energy, what would the point of money even be? How would you assign power and wealth to it?

     

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    Donny (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 6:57pm

    "(Someone can’t give you a replicator or make one with their replicator, because that would violate their license)"

    In a world where a replicator could make another replicator...well, let's imagine we start off with two replicators. Both of them are being used properly, and with appropriate licenses. All is as the IP-believers would want it, and going smoothly.

    But then suppose that the guy who owned the second replicator decided to crack his, and violate the license, and make an outlaw replicator for a third person. Let's bracket his motivations/justifications/ethics/reasonableness. In fact, let's assume he's a nasty selfish vile-hearted blaggard.

    The replicator he just replicated will also be cracked. And the replicators it replicates will in turn also be cracked. And the replicators they replicate will in turn also...etc.

    Now let's fast forward this hypothetical world a few years. What do you think has happened?
    My bet is: There would exist ONE legal, proper replicator that still follows its appropriate licenses. And there would exist LIKE A GAJILLION replicators that are free to replicate whatever the hell they want.

    :/.


    This isn't an outcome I want to suggest is desirable, or laudable. It's just simply inevitable. There's no way you could lock up something like that, no matter how noble your desires, or how disastrous that result.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:02pm

    Rent seeking is 'capitalist enterprise?'

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:08pm

    Re:

    I too am lost over this. I just cannot understand how anyone ever came to believe that the natural state of things was to consolidate the right to exploit ideas in the hands of a few rights holders. No, the right to free exchange of information is something we give up in exchange for creating an economic incentive to create. In a 'free market' exchange of information would be free.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    It depends on your definition of 'capitalism'.

     

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    DB, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:14pm

    Origin of the Ferengei

    I guess when you cross replicators with IP you get the Ferengei Empire.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    Someone would still have to make the 'recipe' instructions to build a whatever. Material will still have to be 'manufactured' in whatever usable form is needed to feed the replicator. As was mentioned in the article, some sort of repairman is needed and parts so he can do his job is needed to be made.

    This sort of pushes in the direction the internet is leading us, if you think about it. Much of the businesses want the internet as a store front with endless virtual shelves that cost nothing to put up and very little to maintain. It's moving towards brick and mortar stores being the rarity, rather than the common. The communications between the customer and the store representative have been removed along with the time factor to special order. Basically if you want something not on the shelf but available, instead of waiting for the store to order and then the typical 6 to 8 weeks, now it is delivered overnight to your doorstep. Not having to keep up a physical store front means business expenses are cheaper. You don't need insurance on a virtual store being damaged by a storm or some other cause. You back up your data to a different place and you are ready just in case Armageddon occurs.

    With a replicator, the virtual shelves would go the way of the physical store. You buy the material, the recipe, and put in the time of making, during which time is now the scarce commodity as it is occupied with making this so it can't make that.

    As world altering and shattering as electricity.

     

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    David Muir (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:49pm

    Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #11: Even if it is free, you can always buy it cheaper.

     

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    techinabox (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:05pm

    'I would imagine there'd be a good business in being a replicator repairman, for example.'

    Reverse polarity, replicator fixed.

     

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    darryl, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:12pm

    What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Really, You've promoted the replicator to something that is capable of predicting the future, creating matter out of nothing and mind reading !!

    Lets assume you had a replicator, and the year is 1920.

    Could you tell your replicator "I want a quad 1000Ghz i9 CPU computer, with 2TB or RAM, and 1000 TB or RAID 3 SSD's, and 4 telsa GP/GPU co-processor cards

    What do you think the replicator would do ?

    In other words a replicator is just that a replicator, it is not capable of invention or innovation, it can ONLY do what it KNOWS HOW TO DO, and it can only do that if the RAW MATERIALS for that are available.

    Without IP, without the knowledge to replicate (copy) something, then the replicator is useless, and without the raw materials that are required to build (replicate) that item it is equally useless.

    Earl Gray Tea is INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, by me saying "earl gray tea, does not mean I have some !!! it means that "earl gray tea" (that term and what it is) is a property of my intellect, NO I do not have to have a cup of it to know what it is, yet if I do what a cup of it, I HAVE to know what it is first.

    That is Intellectual property.

    You cannot have REAL/PHYSICAL property without first having that property as part of your intellect. (your intellectual property).

    If picard did not know what 'earl gray tea was', there is no way he could make that request to his replicator !!! (could he !!)

    If you asked you replicator to build you a computer, one that allready exists in the form of IP, (ie someone knows how to build one) and that computer is ALLREADY REAL, (you cannot replicate something that does not exist to replicate in the first place).

    The replicator would ask for the following -

    "I need this many molocules of Copper, with a purity of 99.9999%, I need this number of Gold Atoms, this number of silicon atoms, this amount of steel, plastic, rubber, silver, lead, tin, arsnic, germanium, tungsten, glass and so on.
    I will also ask for a specific amount of energy, and time.

    (do you expect to get all those things for free ??, or do you expect that someone will mine, refine and purify those raw products and provide them to you for free, including the electricity ?)


    Where does it get those items from ?

    Or does this magic replicator, not only predicts the future, invents it's own products and creates matter and energy from nothing ?

    If everyone had a replicator, apple would know that it would only be able to sell ONE Iphone, as everyone would replicate that phone with their own personal replicator.

    Do you honestly think that apple would spend the billions of dollars in R&D and development if they knew that they would only sell ONE product (the prototype) ???

    Would ANYTHING be developed, if the developer was aware that the money, effort and time he spend on that development would acheive him NOTHING ??

    Only someone who has never made a living from what they know would have such a fairy tale view of reality.

    Why don't you think one or two steps further into your nice dream world ?

    Then you might work out, that if everyone had a replicator of the type you invisage then IP would be the ONLY PLAYER ON THE BLOCK, and IP (what you know) would be the only comodity that would have value (assuming somehow raw materials for your replications magically appear).

    What about the IP that is required to discover, mine and refine the raw materials, or the IP to discover better ways to build a CPU ?

    Yes, lets all get replicators, and then the world will be 100% IP driven, and it will truly be a world were IP is the primary and ONLY commodity of value.....

     

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    darryl, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    Replicator I want a cuban cigar

    Ok pickard, give me awile, as I have to go to cuba to do that, as a cuban cigar is made in cuba, with cuban tobacco, I cannot replicate a cuban cigar unless I am in cuba, if I arrange these molocules to make something that 'looks like' and tastes like a cuban cigar then I am providing you with a fake, and therefore I cannot meet your request.

    The intellectual property of a cuban cigar is a cigar that is made in, and sold from Cuba, and please DONT ask for a "hand made" cuban cigar, as hands (and travelling to cuba) are not my strong points.

    "Replicator, I want a quantum computer the size of my watch, that 10,000 teraflops."

    Replicator: "please input the required IP for that replication"

     

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    darryl, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    And again -

    Caveman to replicator -

    "Replicator, please replicate my club and flint"

    Caveman, our life is complete we have unlimited quantities of flint and clubs, there is no need for us to progress any futher, our life it complete.

    No need to invent IRON, or machines, or argiculture, or an economy or social structure.

    (I wonder then how a replicator could be invented, or could it be a product that came into existance without intellectual property)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Nice try, Romulan instigator

     

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    MrWilson, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:54pm

    Re:

    Cory Doctorow addressed the issue of illegal replicators or 3d printers in a very short story called Printcrime.

    http://craphound.com/?p=573

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 8:59pm

    Everything about what you wrote is anti-star trek, there is no intellectual property in star trek because civilization is beyond money. As long as you need significant amounts of money to survive (food, shelter), then yes, stuff like licensing and IP is going to continue to exist.

     

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    Jared, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    cups

    I always wondered what happened to all those tea cups that got replicated with his tea. He must have a closet full of cups somewhere.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:03pm

    Re: cups

    They get recycled by the replicator.

    Watch more TNG

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:10pm

    Re:

    Exactly, and once you don't need to work to get the necessaries, and some luxuries, people who do jobs they hate will stop doing them. But people doing things they love to do, will still do them, as they do now.

    My father was a scientist, a researcher.
    When his unit was closed down he was close to retirement age, he never got another paid job.
    What he did get, was lab space in a university, managed to get a grant to purchase some equipment and kept doing what he had been doing until long after retirement age.
    He didn't do it for IP or to get IP, he did his work because that was what he was interested in.
    He got paid for it for a long period of time, he won awards for it, but he'd have been doing it whether he got paid or not, or whether he got awards or not as long as he had the ability to provide the necessaries for himself and his family.

    People who think that even in a world of infinite supply, people would still only work for reward betray an amazing lack of understanding of the human race.

     

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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Now I feel like a nerd

    Ding! +5 Internets to you sir.

     

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    BearGriz72 (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:37pm

    Re:

    I heard you like replicating so I put a Replicator in your Replicator so you could......

    Oh never mind....

     

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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:50pm

    Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Erm... here's a tip for you:

    the ONLY real "intellectual" property is your own thoughts in your own mind

    once you make these thoughts public, you don't own them anymore

    want to keep them exclusively yours? do not tell anyone about them, do not make anything based on them public, keep them secret and entirely to yourself

    i know it's hard for some people, but so is "un"common sense

     

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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:50pm

    Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    So speaking of "dream-worlds", how's yours looking so far?

     

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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Replicator I want a cuban cigar

    replicator would have to be a mind-reader for that to work, in that case, it would no longer be exclusively your "property" then

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    His dream world is Germany circa 1938

     

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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    "once you make these thoughts public, you don't own them anymore"

    to elaborate, it's like having an animal in a cage, once you make the thoughts public you are releasing the animal into the wild, and unless you have some sort of mind-altering something-or-other that can wipe that particular thought from people's minds, it's now beyond your control

     

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    Zot-Sindi, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:05pm

    Re: And again -

    uhhh

    me dun no bout no in-teh-lecktual p00perty

    me bored wit clubs, me go make somethin else

    *invents stuff*

    push button

    *copies it*

    uhhhh.... me bored wit dis too

    *invents more stuff*

    P.S. i think you mean an IDEA? there's a huge difference, with intellectual property as in an exclusing thought kept to oneself nothing gets made because it never leaves the mind or nobody knows either way since they don't show it to anyone

    an idea it has the potential to get made

    intellectual p00perty is the bastard child of the above where an idea gets made and some bozo not only gets them mixed up with exclusive thoughts they delude them-self (and apparently congress) into believing they can control what other people do with the sam-.. i mean, "their" idea

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: And again -

    You're wasting your time. He's techdirt's mascot troll we keep around for amusement.

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:20pm

    Replicator Needs

    Why does anyone need to mine materials from a replicator? All you need is protons, neutrons and electrons. It breaks them down and reassembles them. Sort of like transporters. The fuel for a replicator is any sort of matter. If you want earl grey tea, you only need enough matter to equal the amount used in final product.

    Like many who have stated this, if replicator technology existed, jobs in the normal sense would vanish and everyone would have all their needs easily taken care of without the need for money or property.

    People would likely be devoting their time to academic pursuits, exploration and arts.

     

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    Jamey, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:29pm

    Scarcity

    The only way replicators will not be allowed to make other replicators is if they are built so that the user cannot create their own designs to be replicated.

    Unfortunately, RepRap is starting to kick that ass.

    Once replicators are in wide usage, though, there will only be three critical factors - raw material to make things from, energy to make the changes to the raw material, and the designs to guide the changes. Any fully-generalized replicator is of necessity a fully-generalized disassembler, as well, so raw material will be a minimal issue. Energy will likely be problematic, for a while, but not too long - be it fusion, space-based beamed power, or antimatter/dilithium reactors. Designs - well, as they'll be digital in nature, we already know what happens to digital files. (Are digital "goods" really "goods" in the legal sense, as in "goods and services"?)

    Ultimately, the only scarcity will be: Attention. Be it attention to hear our newest composition, or attention to help us design something we don't know how to design, or simply attention to share time with someone - the only thing not in essentially infinite supply will be attention. We'll all only have our 70-120 years of 24-hour days worth of attention to share out.

    ------

    While I'm here - How much would it cost to provide every child, at birth, a DVD/BluRay spindle loaded with every public domain text, image, work of music, etc? *ALL* of the world's music - all of the world's art - all of the world's literature? Include with that a small reader/player capable of being charged by solar power?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Scarcity

    The one laptop per child costs 100$. And that comes with everything they would need to get the rest of the files with. Add a 50$ solar battery recharger and you're good to go

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:37pm

    what about raw materials

    buy into mining

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Says who?

     

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    Nicedoggy, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    The Great Material Continuum is the binding force of life and material in a universe with "millions of worlds, all with too much of one, and not enough of the other".

    Rule of Acquisition number 3
    Quote:
    Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.

    Source: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Rules_of_Acquisition

     

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    Nicedoggy, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 12:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Says everybody with 2 eyes to see and a brain to think for a moment, not much though.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 12:05am

    Re:

    You would still need to buy the replicator. You need to buy the energy and materials. You need to buy a home.

     

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    el_segfaulto (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 12:12am

    Re:

    Thank you sir! That made my night.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 12:48am

    hate to say it folks @10 @ 13

    you nee dto understand that your aren't creating matter, you are reforming energy into matter and guess what its been done on a scale of one atom and even beamed a short distance.

    now working on 100 atoms and so on...this tech once out there will destroy copyrights forever. AS parent states and i always say. ONCE all the robots and replicators do all the work , what do we do? we get on that space ship and explore , we fight the bad guys , we create art and create music for its own sake....wealth is no longer required. POWER however comes form you and me giving it to a authority over us and there may still in futures i will guess be wars.

    OH and if i never had to pay rent or for food and could have all the tools i wanted to create i would and will do so and id prolly get together with others in vast big swaths of entertainment creation. ITS called entertainment for a reason. ENTERTAIN YOURSELF....its not that hard. Apple of course would not create the iphone666 because scientists working on the WePhone1 got 1 million people working on it and in a year came up with the bestest phone ever does everything and has a replicator built in.

     

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    Ed C., Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 12:58am

    Re:

    I would agree it would certainly shift our society's concept of material wealth. Without the need for society to expend so much labor on most material production, or for the levels of capital needed to acquire it, we would have much more time for "leisurely" pursuits such as art and science. (Yes, once upon a time scientific research was mostly constrained to clergy and wealthy academics with the required free time to pursue it.) Yes, I think that at least would be a good thing.

    As Mike pointed out though, it would only eliminate certain kinds of jobs, while creating new jobs that don't even yet exist. For instance, the power needed to run a ST style replicator would be rather large--at least by our standards. The fuel needed to generate the power could not be replicated, as the energy potential of the fuel would require even higher levels of energy to replicate it. The fuel would still have to be obtained and transported, and someone would have to maintain the power plants.

    However, The darker side to this revolution would be that the cost of an item would become the cost of the energy needed to replicate it, and the profits for the production would largely go to the power and fuel industries. For instance, the profits for production of the cup of Earl Grey would go to them, not the growers, transport companies, or sellers. If you think that the oil companies have you over a barrel just for the transportation of products to markets, and your work compute needed to earn the money to shop there, just wait until the cost of production instead gets funneled solely to the power and fuel industries!

    As for the copyright issue, replicators would probably embed some kind of signature in every copy--just like printers do now. An original sculpture or painting would still be considered unique, and thus valuable, because it can be distinguished from any of the copies. The value would then be in creating originals, not in selling copies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    Sounds like Orwell to me.

     

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  43.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 2:38am

    cold tea copyrighted?

    Presumably some other company owns the rights to cold tea

    Well I hope Picard drinks his tea quickly, otherwise Cold Tea plc will drag his pirate ass into court

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re:

    RepRap is the beginnings of replicator technology. The idea behind it is, it can make copies of itself. So there is no need to buy one. Energy is easy, it's all around us, sun, wind, and any temperature difference. Land you will need to buy some, or maybe you can hop on the starship built with your replicator, and get the hell away from all the idiot earthlings ...

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 3:43am

    Re: Origin of the Ferengei

    Actually you get east Texas ...

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 3:44am

    Re: Origin of the Ferengei

    Actually you get east Texas ... it smells like cow shit, and and is full of lawyers.

     

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    Paul`, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 4:07am

    Re:

    The juice and the initial matter would be worth a lot.

     

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    Chris, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 4:11am

    Re: Now I feel like a nerd

    Too right!

     

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    Bruce, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:21am

    Replicator story discussing consequences for society July 1958

    One of my favourite short stories relating to the consequences of having replicators is

    "Business as usual during alterations"

    by

    Ralph Williams (Astounding Stories July 1958)

    When you have a economic system based on abundance, what is the scarcity that fuels the abundance - the talent to make the originals that become abundant.

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:23am

    Re: Scarcity - will get far worse

    so raw material will be a minimal issue.

    You would have to use exactly the same amount of raw material that is required to make the item you wish to replicate.

    You cannot make a cup of tea with only half a cup of water.

    There will be NO (ZERO) reduction of the amount of raw material you need to make something.

    the same amount of energy will be required to 're-replicate' the raw materials, as it will to re-arrainge them into the form you desire.

    + the energy to find, test, extract, refine, transport, and distribute the raw materials.

    And all the waste materials, and empty earl gray tea cups will have to be disposed of.

    If a replicator requires ONE specific part to operate, that part (or material) will be hugely expensive.


    Some people here do appear to have a very weak grip of reality, please do not take up a job of trying to predict the future, and please do not work in any area that requires any scientific knowledge, or economic knowledge for that matter.

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:32am

    Re: Replicator Needs

    What is required to pull apart or put together protons, neutrons and electrons ?

    ENERGY, and vast amounts of it.

    You might have even seen it (at least on TV) yourself, I am sure you have seen many nuclear explosions (fission), when they take matter, and with the application of a great deal of energy they 'split the atom', this process creates energy and also requires vast amounts of energy, (and temperature/pressure) to achieve.

    Nuclear Fusion, that is combining protons and neutrons to 'fuse' the atoms (can only be actually done with Hydrogen into helium) (and not the heavier elements), requires VAST QUANTITIES of energy.

    Our SUN, has ALOT of energy, but it is not a big enough sun, and does not contain enough energy to create the heavy elements (the metals) within it's core.

    It requires super massive stars before you have nearly enough energy to fuse any elements heavier than Hydrogen.

    Good luck trying to get one for your kitchen.....



    Yes, I am sure you dream world would be far better, if those damn laws of physics were just a little different, allthough you might regret what you wish for. and you might miss our nice warm sun...

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:38am

    Re: In the replicator age, there is ONLY IP, nothing else.

    in star trek there is nothing but intellectual property, pickad does not make anything, nor does anyone else.

    Their entire life is spend in the application of their knowledge, they do not do physical labour, they think and made decisions for a living.

    They live off the product of their knowledge, for them that is the ONLY thing they posses of value.

    Just as it is for us, it is not what you can do, it is what you know how to do that makes you what you are.

    If pickard did not have the required intellectual property to run a starship, then do you think he would be running his own starship he built from a replicator ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:42am

    The most repulsive aspect of Masnick's writings on IP is that he assumes that preserving "capitalism" and "jobs" is a good thing. It's hypocritical and intellectually dishonest.

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: And again -

    and how do you invent it ?

    You do not even know how to make a club, or a flint, that knowledge was lost after the first one was replicated.

    So you do not know how to make flint or clubs, but you expect that without any knowledge of ANYTHING (like making things) then you are going to be able to invent something like a i9 CPU ?

    so when was the last time u used a knife and thought to yourself, "wow, I can design a better one, with different materials, that is capable of cutting through anything" ??

    So the cave man is going to think "yea my flint stone is good but if i made the blade from diamond, and put a titanium handle on it, and made the handle to exactly match the shape of my hand, then my life will be complete... Replicator, make me a diamond bladed knife, with a titanium handle pleases"

    "Replicator my club is not effective anymore, please replicate me a nimitz class aircraft carrier, complete with F-16 fighter jets...."

    Replicator: "I cannot comply with your command", please input Intellectual property.

    Caveman, But I have no idea how to design a jet engine !!!

    Replicator: "whats a jet engine???? "

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: What I nice dream world you live in !!!

    So when Data askes Pickard 'what are we going to do captain??', and Pickard says "shields up", then by your logic, Pickard is finished, he's exposed his IP so therefore its everyone's.

    Anyone, at any time, can respond to Data's request with "shields up", and all will be well !!!!!!!..


    Because they are now applying 'public IP' !!!! ??????

    Please, NEVER EVER take up a job of responsibility !!!!! better still DO NOT DO ANYTHING !!! if you honestly believe what you know, you no longer know if you say it !!! wow... how very very sad...

     

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    perogi, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 6:12am

    Author misses one important point...

    in the Star Trek universe, the Federation doesn't use money. People work jobs because it provides them pleasure - not as a means to put food on the table.

     

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    darryl, Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    the first thing