I'm not really all that mysterious

Matter Replication

It continues to amuse me that people quote “information wants to be free” without giving appropriate context (namely, that “information wants to be expensive”, too.)

On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.

Stewart Brand

#via - Unspooling Ariadne’s Golden Thread • 2010 Jul 21 • Disordered Thought Processes - Information • 2010 Apr 11 • Hopelessly Hopeful

#see also - Stewart Brand • Wikiquote - “Hackers” and “Information Wants to Be Free” • The most famous phrase in the book wasn’t mine. And it wasn’t in the book. • 2014 Nov 21 • Steven Levy • Medium - Information wants to be free • Wikipedia - Information Wants to be Free… • 2000 Feb 24 • Roger Clarke • Roger Clarke’s Web-Site - Information wants to be free… and expensive • 2009 Jul 20 • Richard Siklos • Fortune

This is to segue into a Facebook link I followed to Boing Boing:

How I learned to stop worrying and love the duplicator machines • 2014 Nov 6 • Neil Gaiman • Boing Boing

The part that intrigued me the most was the part about the 1950s science fiction story that effectively predicted (at least in metaphor) software, music, e-book, and movie downloads/streaming, the extensive catalog of Amazon, outsourcing manufacturing to the PRC, and even Etsy:

We’re in a department store. And someone drops off two matter duplicators. They have pans. You put something in pan one, press a button, its exact duplicate appears in pan two.

We spend a day in the department store as they sell everything they have as cheaply as possible, duplicating things with the matter duplicator, making what they can on each sale, and using cheques and credit cards, not cash (you can now perfectly duplicate cash – which obviously is no longer legal tender). Towards the end they stop and take stock of the new world waiting for them and realise that all the rules have changed, but craftsmen and engineers are more necessary than ever.

That companies won’t be manufacturing millions of identical things, but they’ll need to make hundreds, perhaps thousands, of slightly different things, that their stores will be showrooms for things, that stockrooms will be history. That there will now be fundamental changes including, in 1950s-style retailing, in a phrase that turned up well after 1958, a long tail.

While 3D printing is still nascent, I think it’s only a matter of time before we’re downloading product designs and generating small household items for general use on a regular basis.

And while the Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession gives the phrase a more sarcastic/cynical subtext, it also seems like buying “experiences not things” is the way to go.

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