Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Meme Monopolies and SECAIU

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

--Thomas Jefferson

Looks like copyright monopolies are unnatural. It is the classic case of someone claiming ownership of something to further their own ends at the expense of society. Wouldn't everyone be better off if cancer medicine were cheap and widely available?

But hey, man, you gotta give people some credit. So what if your granny has cancer? I want my $1000 per pill. I slaved for years in that lab after even more years in school, I want my pay-off.

Fair enough. Italex has a point.

Is there such a thing as an unbiased, selfless, non-violent source of capital? One that could give money to the much-deserving Italex without denying millions a cure for their cancer?

Introducing humanity's first Social Ethical Calculus Artificial Intelligence Unit. Takes a percentage of taxes as source funds, runs through some scenarios/problems, and determines a course of action and what kind of funds can be applied to the endeavor. Human oversight works out the details (perhaps with further aid from the A.I.), but no one party benefits; that's the nature of the game: maximum output for minimum input, greatest happiness for the greatest number.

If only...


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