The Internets Own Boy is a documentary, if you haven’t seen it, please do. It’s on the BBC iPlayer and can be found here: The Internets Own Boy.
I am sure you know of Aaron Swartz. He was a true prodigy, a pioneer, and an internet hacktivist. He played a huge part in the defence of internet freedom against the will of US government (see SOPA) amongst loads of other things. He died on 11 Jan 2013 age 26. Once again I find myself ashamed I did not know any detail about his life nor the impact he had.
The internet was surely built to facilitate communication and connection. No one owns the internet. Public information should be accessible by the public with no charges made to anyone and no one profiteering from the provision of public documents. The internet facilitates transparency. Thats is a good thing.
Jack Andraka made a break through in the testing for Pancreatic Cancer age 15. Andraka used free online journals to help him in his research. These documents, mostly funded by the public (via tax) lay behind a pay wall, so, it cost people to read them.
Swartz made these journals free. He was prosecuted for that. Making public documents available to the pubic. In the eyes of the law this was illegal. Is the law wrong? shouldn’t we share information in order to make progress? Wasn’t the internet partly born through scientists desire to share information and progress research?
Barriers to collaboration hinder and repress innovation. Collaboration is necessary for innovation to take place. The idea of an invention is that someone builds on someone else’s ideas and produces the next step forward. Someone one day will build on the knowledge and take the next step.
Seeing this documentary has made me think a lot. I don’t think I have questioned the status quo enough. I don’t feel I have made any impact in progression of society for the better. This needs to change! I am not saying I’ll lead a movement but I should be involved in one small thing which desires change and forces progression.
It also made me question my professional life. We must be making things better for people otherwise whats the point? Surely any companies desire is to make life better for people? if thats not at the heart of a business what is?