Designing a sustainable system for Human Knowledge

Session 18

ES/SO352 Sustainability - Session 18

S21: Designing a sustainable system for Human Knowledge

Required readings:

  • Lessig, L. (2004). Free culture, How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. ISBN 1594200068. The Penguin Press. Pages: Cover + Preface (xiii-xvi) + "Chapter one: Creators" (21-30) + (170-173).
    [Pages: Cover + Preface (xiii-xvi) + "Chapter one: Creators" (21-30) + 170-173]
  • Pearce, J.M. (2012). The case for open source appropriate technology. Environ Dev Sustain (2012) 14:425–431. Available online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10668-012-9337-9


  1. Understand how Patents and Intellectual Property laws can limit Innovation and Creativity
  2. Understand the two relationships between the words "Sustainability" and "Knowedge"
    • (A) Knowledge and "Human Sustainability"
    • (B) "Sustainability of Knowledge" itself
  3. Identify the problems associated with non-careful keeping of knowledge, and their potential solutions
  4. Understand similarities between OSAT & Copyleft with FLOSS, and why they are more sustainable themselves
  5. Understand why some companies could make "a-million-dollar-baby" based on OSAT

1. Important concepts:

  • INNOVATION ...that implies to build over a previous substrate
  • CREATIVITY ...which new knowledge is made based on existing knowledge
  • BOTH are sustained over current and past knowledge of our human society

Creativity always builds upon the past (2')

2. Knowledge and Sustainability

  1. Two relationships between the words "Sustainability" and "Knowedge"
    • (A) Knowledge and "Human Sustainability"
    • (B) "Sustainability of Knowledge" itself

(A) Knowledge and "Human Sustainability"

  • Which is the relationship between them?
    • We are a cultural society:
    • sharing and preserving knowledge is the keystone for survival of present and future generations
      (for human sustainability).

(B) Sustainability of Knowledge itself

  • Ability to sustain of Knowledge for future generations...
    • How can we design a System to keep Knowledge, so that it can be sustained for future generations?

Identify the problems related to the sustainability of knowledge, shown in these 2 videos:

  • Video 1: The Dark Digital Age (4')
  • Video 2: Digital preservation (3')

Next Videos: Problems & Solutions



2.1. Video1: The Dark Digital Age (4')

  • Imagine a future where humans are unable to access the data, literature, art, photographs, discoveries, and vital records of previous generations. That bleak future may be on the horizon! Learn how our fragile, rapidly obsolete systems of storing data could lead to a digital dark age.
    This video, from the Computer History Museum's new exhibition: "Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing" explores the surprisingly fragile nature and longevity of the huge volumes of digital data we create.

2.2. Video2: Digital preservation (3')

  • Cartoon video on digital preservation, at the EU

2.3. Problems & Solutions



3. Copyleft

Stimulating creativity:
  • Must intelectual property be protected? At which extend?
  • Protecting property of knowledge, with “all rights reserved”: creativity limited

Copyleft C Copyleft :     (as apparently opposed to Copyright)
Is a general method for marking a creative work (program, content, ...) as freely available to be copied & modified, while all modified versions must have an equivalent copyright license. Examples:
  • GNU General Public License (GPL)
  • GNU Free Documentation License (FDL)
  • Creative Commons Licenses (CC *)
Copyleft Vs Copyright

3.1. Creative Commons (CC): Origins of CC explained. (7')

Video Get Creatve
Click to see see the video

3.2. Creative Commons License-Creative Commons Kiwi (5')

This short and fun animation video by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand explains the CC licenses.

3.3. Creative Commons plus commercial video (10')

  • This video explains how Creative Commons licenses can be used in conjunction with commercial licensing arrangements.

3.4. Other Documents: CC Licenses summary chart 1

3.5. Other Documents: CC Licenses summary chart 2


3.6. CC Licenses compatibility chart

PD = Public Domain


4. FLOSS, Copyleft & OSAT

Understand similarities and differences between FLOSS, Copyleft & OSAT, and why they are all more sustainable than their predecessors (closed source)

  • FLOSS: Software with a Copyleft type of license
    (Free/Libre Open Source Software)
    • Can be the operating system itself, the desktop applications, ...
  • Copyleft: Type of copyright licenses that indicate that content can be copied and modified. And these conditions are protected by the Copyright law.
    Examples of copyleft licenses:
    • GNU/Free Documentation License (GNU/FDL),
    • Creative Commons licenses (CC-by, CC-by-sa, CC-by-sa-nc, CC-by-nd, ...)
  • OSAT: physical products, hardware, etc.
    (Open Source Appropriate Technology).

5. OSAT: Examples of Success cases

Video: "Open source hardware $1m and beyond - foo camp east 2010". 5'

6. Open Source Vehicle (OSV) - Tabby EVO (i)

OSVehicle: start building it (2')

7. Open Source Vehicle (OSV) - Tabby EVO (ii)

OSVehicle at Next Berlin 2014 (8')

Page last modified on Thursday 08 of December, 2016 16:51:58