A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer


#1

In Neal Stephenson’s 1995 postcyberpunk novel The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, the primer is an interactive learning notebook which adapts as the owner learns, informing a generation of geeks’ vision of education and development. Such tools are increasingly feasible. Will all humans have full access to, and ability to participate in the development of such tools? Only if they are developed in the commons, which will only happen with intentional action.

This fictional example frequently comes to mind for me, emblematic of “software is eating the world”, including culture, education, research – all of the traditional subjects of copyright are now largely made with and mediated by software, but that’s just the beginning. Soon enough, they’ll all be software, or be obsolete.

Correct or not? If correct, what should entities that primarily care about non-software free/libre/open stuff do about it? Can they do anything?