Society has changed a lot in the last 100 years, and it's effects are barely noticeable to most of us. They are massive, hardly subtle changes that any outsider would see as impossible advancements. So why is it that our culture is so steeped in under appreciation for the wonderful technology we have?
One of the reasons is unfortunately politics. But not necessarily a congressional policy in a direct or indirect sense. It's more so the mindset that something so amazing has to be regulated and people need to be protected from it. From Cell Phones, Cars, and even the INTERNET, every aspect of human technological advancement is subject to the now visible hand of the government.
I would like to use the Internet as a main example for this problem, since it is a major player in recent events with the NSA. When did we come to believe that regulating everything will be the answer? If there's one thing I've found being a gamer, companies who limit their community's ability to interact with and create within that game or community do more poorly than those who do.
Take Valve and the Half-Life franchise for example. A multitude of games have spawned and even entire communities around this one game. Counter-Strike and Team Fortress are two of the major ones, while Half-Life has had numerous mods and even independently made game add-ons(Gearbox, creator of Borderlands actually got their start with Half-Life: Blue Shift, and Opposing Force). Counter-Strike has COUNTLESS mods to make your gameplay change, different maps to enjoy(and some incredibly creative ones I might add), as well as the Team Fortress franchise.
Team Fortress 2 is a franchise that EVERY game company could learn from. You can play for free, all you want online. And based on how you play, you can get items, weapons, and upgrades for your different classes. You can also BUY the ones you really want, along with special edition hats. That's it. Just hats.
Where does all of this play in? Well, if gaming communities can be passionate enough to create original content that the entire WORLD can enjoy for free, I think ANY kind of community can do the same! Except when it comes to products that a company sells, or a service that is offered, things become a different story.
But should they? Should we treat these products any differently than an entertainment medium? If a gaming community can band together to create a better product, why not allow all other mediums to do the same? I may be wrong on this happening, since I'm sure there are some people out there who enjoy modifying/improving products. I just don't see it nearly as much.
How does regulation affect the spread of information? Greatly. With the proposed legislation in CISPA, and SOPA/PIPA, I wouldn't have a website right now. I wouldn't be able to post a link to Discovery's video about the impact of the internet. Hell, I wouldn't be able to do really ANYTHING if I didn't have some serious legal help on my side.
I have a creative commons license that allows you to post/link this article, change and modify any information you wish on it, and share it so long as you give credit to me for the work I did on it. That's all I ask. Why do I do this? Because I know it's good for me, and it's good for you. We both win in that situation. You are able to convey your point while also providing a source for the information you presented. I am able to get my work out there and provide you with information that you find pertinent to your search.
It really is just about sharing the world around you, and understanding the benefit of allowing others to use/manipulate the information as well. Would I be angry if you plagiarized the entire article? Yes, I would. Would I sue you in court? No. I would refute your information and provide solid evidence that the information was plagiarized, thereby destroying any credibility you would have with your reader. All of that readership would then potentially come to me, knowing who really did the work.
I could go on and on about the benefits of a free, and open internet system, but I'd like to get back on point: The manipulation and regulation of technology is shooting our entire society in the foot. If we suppress innovation to make a better product, or provide a better service, we are stifling the very innovation that got us to this point.
Just because you are successful at one point, does not mean the government should guarantee continued success. It's up to you to keep innovating, and being one step ahead of your competition. That is what will set you apart. So how about we stop stagnating our ability to move forward, and start removing all the regulation making it happen.
Let's make an even greater impact for the future generations to come.
E Pluribus Unum