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 open-source transportation systems in general. What we have now is largely out-dated and could have been far more efficient and evolved by now if oil corporations did not hold all the cards in that department.
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      Jan 18 2012: There is an open source car project or tow out there, but they lack funding (or much in the way of success). They also have an issue of making a vehicle is still pretty expensive, even if you know everything you need to do.

      All that being said, hells yes I want to have the knowledge at my fingertips to be able to build my own vehicle!
      • Jan 18 2012: If engineers around the world could start an open-source network of projects relating to transport solutions im sure we would see a lot more interesting systems come out. First of all improvements on our current systems and at the same time great leaps forward in private transport, such as floating and flying vehicles that can be coordinated by computer systems or advanced networks of vacuum tubes that carry "pods" inside them.. high speed, highly efficient systems that can all be very practically organised with our current computer technologies. They are thinking about these things in cars but as a mass medium of transport cars are just not a sustainable, viable choice for a growing population.. I love cars and im sure they will always be around but Im damn sure there are better ways of doing things, and pretty quickly too!
      • Jan 18 2012: Just do it... I'm currently building my own... it's really not that hard! drop me a note and we could talk if you'd like. Timothy805 at yahoo
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      Jan 18 2012: Car sharing is on the rise. Austin is a leading area where cars are available for use at minimal cost. All you need is a license.
      • Jan 19 2012: A global website for car-sharing would be amazing.. Lot's of obstacles to getting it right but sooo worth it in the end!

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