Thursday, 12 June 2014

Not Evenly Distributed

Some people say that Tony Stark is based on Elon Musk. An innovating futurist, interested in altruistic projects, mostly with a futuristic twist, like Private Space Travel, Solar Cities, etc.

I find myself agreeing with that now.

This morning, it was announced that Tesla Motors has open sourced their patents on the Electric Car. Anyone who wants to build an emissions free vehicle can now do so.

Tesla Motors kept their designs for an electric car patented, because they were stepping into an industry that had them woefully outnumbered. They kept their innovation to themselves in an attempt to keep everyone from copying it, and drowning them out.

Must have come as a surprise when they realized nobody else wanted to copy it. An innovation in the automobile industry? Perish the thought.

The electric car has to potential to be the most important upgrade in automobile history, and yet the major players ignore it completely.

Well, now the whole world can take a crack at it. If the major players don't want to play, someone out there will.

I don't know if this will make any difference in the long term. Most, if not all Car Manufacturers have been ignoring 100% Electric Car technology for this long, and if they did want to make any kind of move in that area, they would have. It would be incredibly good business for them to begin production on this yesterday; because however much money they're making, we're all running out of oil, and when it's gone, the disruption to the world will be unimaginable. Having technology in place that will keep the lights on and people moving and refrigerators working is the only hope of avoiding a return to the Stone Age.

The frustrating part isn't that this technology isn't being used, it's that nobody seems to care. To quote William Gibson: The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.

But the truly awe inspiring part of this story, is that a billionaire made an altruistic decision. Not entirely of course, Tesla Motors will stand to benefit from this; but the planet stands to gain a whole lot more.

It's unusual, but not unprecedented. Linus Torvalds made Linux as a free OS. That's a gesture that led, at least in part, to Android. Google has also released Android to the world, and it's not the most successful OS that mobile devices have. Google's making a lot of money off Android, without charging for the use of it.

Can you picture how the world would look, if Energy and Transport had as much innovation as computers? The world would be turned on its head. Today we're one step closer; because if someone has a way to make Tesla Cars better, then they can actually do something about it now. Fear of litigation keeps most start-ups from getting anywhere. If this makes it easier, then it's the world that will benefit.

Here's to you, Tesla Motors!