Re: Hal Finney's optimal-production argument

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Tue Oct 30 2001 - 22:30:26 MST


On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> I question whether "free entertainment" uses of prior art
> are generally extropic (as perhaps Eliezer may have suggested).
> It comes down to a question of whether the "free entertainment"
> uses of "informarion" are productive from an economic or societal
> perspective. Yes, we could construct a society where everyone is
> maintained in a Matrix VR pod thinking we are evolving through time
> (where the beginnings and ends are artificial constructs), but is
> that "productive" in what we currently perceive as reality?

I question if anybody is clairvoyant enough to distinguish between
creativity and entertainment... or if such a distinction even exists.
It sounds to me like the attempts to distinguish basic science from
applied science-- one makes good money today, the other may start
making obscenely large amounts of money at any moment without warning.

I still remember the creative writing class I once took that taught me
that everybody has a haunting, lyrical, beautiful story inside
them. Even the jocks and sorostitutes raised on a steady diet of TV
and trashy pop-music. Even the people who is no good with all them
words. They're all acorns. All of them.

> As Lee says, "we could instead encourage gradual, incremental
> development and universal access". Well the patent laws
> (and older copyright laws) seemed to support that. What
> is necessary is to turn back copyright trends that provide
> exclusive long-term rights (beyond a reasonable period)
> so that information after a limited period of protection
> really does become "free".

Yeah, for one thing the whole debate can be resolved by gradually
shortening the lifetime of patents and copyrights down to like five
years, after which they become public domain. The argument being that
we're now living on 'internet time' and if you don't make a million
bucks in the first five years after launch-date, you ain't gonna.

Also, any software product that gets discontinued should get its
source code released to the public if that was not already done by
then. If MS-DOS isn't going to do its publisher any more good ever
again, it's only rational (from a big-picture standpoint) to throw it
into the mix and see if anybody else comes up with a novel use for it.

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