January 21, 2013

Freedom of information versus the economics of information


This content is being re-posted from my microblog, Tumbld Thoughts.


This is a follow-up to my last Synthetic Daisies post, and turns the argument (should information be free of cost and/or financial value) on its heads [1]. Would you like to be paid to read books? Does this sound too good to be true? Actually, this is an idea from Kevin Kelly (of Wired fame) at his blog "The Technium". A bit like the "economics of the free" [2] and some of the ideas advanced in my recent slideshow on science innovation [3].

[1] Does information want to be free? Or in this case, of "negative value" to the creator? In this case, any negative value is temporary, and actually becomes a strategic investment. This is more like the electricity consumer who (through the use of renewables) supplies energy back to the electric grid rather than the investor who gets negative interest on their savings account.

[2] For more information, please see the book "Free" by Chris Anderson. Could you replace the concept "books" and "reading" in Kelly's model with any other concept? There may or may not be a free lunch today, depending on your reading of "Free".

[3] A New Route to Science Innovation, doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.106823. In addition, there are some interesting relationships between this model and the potential monetization of social capital. This would be especially powerful if Kelly's model were implemented on a large social media network (e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn).

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