Monthly Archives: March 2015

A New Way to Distribute Books

Books StackAn alternative way of distributing a book: rather than going through the normal distribution channels, just give some away. Ask the recipients, if they don’t find the book to their liking, to please pass it on to someone whom they think would like it. And ask them if they do like it to consider purchasing a copy to give to someone else.

In fact, encourage them to give away one to three copies, depending on how much they liked the book.

If the book is well-liked, it will go viral. If it is not it will fizzle out almost immediately. This is a test-case for the Gift Economy, albeit an incomplete one.

This may be the model we use for distributing The World Transformed: the Abridged Edition.

If not, I think I will try it out on a subsequent book.

Old Body, New Parts

Organ donationResearchers and practitioners are making dramatic progress in producing usable human tissues via (highly modified) 3D printers. Although we aren’t there yet, eventually we can expect to see whole kidneys, livers, hearts, and lungs produced in vats or via printer-like devices. These will be a godsend for patients who otherwise would be looking for an organ transplant (no danger of rejection when it’s your own organ.)

And down the road, people might start swapping out organs just as part of a maintenance program. If young blood can make you more youthful, what might a whole new heart do? For that matter, can we produce our own “young” blood?

Can we print out new eyes with perfect vision, new ears with perfect hearing?

Nice straight new teeth?

And why stop at old body, new parts? How long before we can print out (not clone, mind you) a whole new body and just pop our brains into it?

Distributed Autonomous Businesses

stock or currency exchange market displau screen boardOne of the models for associating individual wealth with productive output in an economy  that is predominantly (if not completely) post-labor is to apportion ownership of companies across the population. This could be a matter of distributing shares of existing companies or granting shares or exclusive ownership to new companies.

The ideal fit would be with self-starting startups. As a dedicated AI system (or many such systems) launch profitable companies, their ownership is distributed throughout the population according to whatever criteria make the most sense. It could be random or tied to consumer behavior or other interests / aptitudes.

Or possibly one could gain ownership in businesses by expressing an early interest in them or contributing to the original idea from which they are launched. You might think of it as the auto-pilot of entrepreneurship. The machine does all the hard stuff while we reap the benefits.

For a related idea, see Wealth Robots.

For a road map of how we get from here to there, check out Melanie Swan’s recent piece on Blockchain Thinkers and Smart Contracts.

Movies Starring You

Young woman watching a filmThe technology already pretty much exists to recreate classic movies with a computer-generated version of you replacing the star. This could be extended to include your whole family or circle of friends. (Do It’s a Wonderful Life for Christmas for example.) Or you could leave some of the original actors in place,  depending on who you want to swap classic lines with, share a steamy love scene with, etc.

Studios will soon have to start licensing these one-off versions of movies, as well as one-off games based on them or face losing to pirates who will do so anyway.

But then if you can put your own likeness and voice into classic movies to provide a more egocentric way of enjoying them, you can also put yourself into wholly original movies. These movies might be based on stories that you have come up with yourself or built up from stories suggested by the movie-making system based on your expressed interests. They could be simple fantasy fulfillment, such as a love story involving you and a fantasy figure from your own life or popular culture. Or they could be the chance to re-experience memories: happy memories, painful memories, memories of important events.