Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

How Creativity Works, and How the Patent System Thinks it Works

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Oh look! I was interviewed on Radio National’s Future Tense.

Apparently I said something like this:

“Edward Jung described creativity as this process where there is a person sitting alone in a room and an idea comes to them and they send it out to the world. Now, that’s a very outmoded idea of creativity and it’s very odd, but it is a lot like the way the patent system sees creativity.

As other speakers on your show mentioned, creativity is actually a social process, it happens within and among people. Every idea is built upon the huge substructure of other ideas. As Newton said, he stood on the shoulders of giants. As do we all.

So there’s this social process going on, and when something is invented somewhere in the world it’s very likely that it is being simultaneously invented by other people.”

Edward Jung described creativity as this process where there is a person sitting alone in a room and an idea comes to them and they send it out to the world, and that’s a very outmoded idea of creativity and it’s very odd, but it is a lot like the way the patent system sees creativity. As other speakers on your show mentioned, creativity is a social process, it happens within and among people, every idea is to build upon the huge substructure of other ideas. As Newton said, he stood on the shoulders of giants, as do we all.
So there’s this social process going on, and when something is invented somewhere in the world it’s very likely that it is being simultaneously invented by other people.

Emergency Services

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

OK, I just have to point this out. We seem to be experiencing a mini moral panic, because two girls trapped in a drain called for help on Facebook instead of dialing 000. Now, I have kids and I would want them to dial 000 in that situation. But I’d also want them to try facebook, twitter, or whatever other social networks they were connected to.
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Dear Alain de Botton, here’s why we don’t tweet about Descartes’ Second Treatise:

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

There is no Descartes’ Second Treatise.

(I’d have called this post Notae in Programma Quoddam, which is funnier, but only four people would have got it).

I must first confess that I thoroughly enjoy Alain de Botton’s works of popular philosophy. I love his writing, his way with words and ideas. Tragically however, he is a living philosopher that people have heard of. He is therefore being asked to comment on various contemporary matters, pretty much at random, without regard for whether he’s thought about them properly. Even worse, he’s being asked by Britain’s Sunday Times.

My own research is into collaborative technologies. I’m mostly interested in interaction design, and don’t know as much about the social side as some people, but I can spot a clanger when one is pointed out to me in a none-to-subtle yet hilarious and scathing parody.

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