Applications and Tools, Deep Thoughts, Second Life, Virtual World Platforms

Philip Rosedale: We Have the Right to Innovate

Philip Rosedale, Second Life founder, wandering evangelist, and noob-haired avatar, has a guest column on BBC in which he says that the ‘coolest’ technology is “anything born from the right we should all have to innovate.”

Now, frankly, I like Philip when he’s floaty and his eyes gaze off in the distance. I remember when I met him at the Virtual World conference he had that faraway look that I either associated with someone who’s so visionary that they’re always paying attention to the horizon, although maybe he was looking for the restrooms or any means of escape. I suppose he might have been worried that I was going to corner him about rental rates or something.

In any case, I’ll stick with the rather romantic notion that Philip believes all the stuff about magic, about uploading his brain to the Grid, the Singularity, and will remain grateful that he showed the wisdom to let someone else actually run the place (and I’ll continue to be patient that we’ll actually start to see something REALLY tangible as a result).

In the BBC article, Philip waxes about innovation:

“Giving people licence to develop, to build, is incredibly empowering and the root of real innovation. This grid model is all about democratisation of innovation and now as a society we have to look at how we take that and make it truly democratic by engaging with the digitally excluded.”

And Philip is following the “change the world” trend that’s taking over all the brain space of the Web 2.0, techy, bloggy types out there now that there’s less money available in the venture capital space, I suppose - might as well spend the spare time thinking about something useful. For Philip, it’s all about powering the world, and in so doing empower them to innovate:

“At a time when the West is looking at alternative fuel and power supplies for reasons of cost and ecology, the developing world is nearing an opportunity to embrace decentralised power generation as a means to survive and thrive and ultimately to innovate.

The global talent pool is set to boom as incredible minds start to look at world problems through fresh eyes and start to envisage the ways in which technology can make a difference to their lives and their surroundings.”

Now, we work with a group, OHAfrica, that supports HIV treatment in Lesotho. And one of the lessons we’ve learned from them is the caution that technology and innovation can also be paternalistic: just because technology allows YOU to Twitter, doesn’t mean you should be pushing it on aid workers in the developing world.

But I’ll let Philip get all dreamy for a bit. And what I DO like is the following quote:

“But beyond the big picture stuff it was often the tiny, almost imperceptible tweaks which people made to the virtual world that got me most excited.”

Because as I’ve noted elsewhere, the Courage to Create doesn’t need to be monumental, it can be incremental, and is based on the fundamental truth that we all have talents, and having the right and ability to use them is tranformative.


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