TED Conversations

Sonaar Luthra

CEO / Co-Founder Water Canary Inc., Water Canary


This conversation is closed.

If you could open-source one piece of technology, what would you choose and why?

*This Live Conversation will take place on January 18, 2012 at 3PM EST / 12PM PST

Perhaps you'd choose a feature on your favorite video game system, perhaps you'd choose a life-saving medicine, a means of transportation, a fabrication method or a communications protocol... This is an invitation to think big about what would happen if you could take things that already exist and open them up to the world.


Closing Statement from Sonaar Luthra

Thank you everyone for sharing your ideas - this was an excellent conversation.

What I find most striking as I look through the comments is how many scenarios we came up with where open sourcing existing ideas, technologies and systems could promote both efficiency and a better quality of life/social welfare, instead of requiring any compromise between them.

The benefits of open source scientific research can both eliminate waste in bringing more resources to bear on solving problems and developing cures to diseases, while simultaneously making the benefits of those solutions more accessible for everyone. Open agriculture won't just lead to better, sustainable ways to grow food, but systems that allow more people to get out of poverty. And opening up educational resources - like the "dyslexie" font that Kristine O'Connor-delgado mentioned - can both improve the way we teach and learn as well as dramatically increase how many people receive an education.

I'm particularly excited to see where the projects we discussed go from here - please keep us all posted. Thank you for participating!

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  • Jan 18 2012: I'd like to make all copyrighted material older than 20 years, completely open for the world to build on. Not the best timeframe, but it's what I feel is a good compromise between the capital needs of the copyright owners and the development needs of the 21st Century.
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      Jan 18 2012: One can argue about the threshold, but the concept is great.
      • Jan 18 2012: The implied interest rate applied by corporations and investors to discount future cash flows is objectively provable. The value of future cash flows beyond 20 years is negligible. No corporation or investor values them at all-- NO R&D, or creative or artistic investment is made in pursuit of revenue streams so far in the future. Society is getting NO benefit by such long copyrights. The economic cost of copyrights AND patents even at 7-10 years exceeds the economic benefits by a wide margin. The heavy hitters in Copyright lobby are motivated by the need to maintain monopoly positions in distribution, and by advertising and content revenue paid by political actors in the media landscape.

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