There is a culture class in the information age and this will affect the rapid advancement of the research and development in many fields. Eastern Culture will have an absolute advantage over Western Culture and this will cause the over taking of the United States in future innovation opening up much opportunity for the emerging Chinese Super Power.
In Eastern Culture the sharing of knowledge is considered a noble endeavor and you share information with friends, next generation, allies and those you do business with. In Western Culture you do not share information unless you are paid, as we have commercialized knowledge. And it has worked well for generations, yet now we see the fast paced of innovation as we move in theory towards Kerzweil’s “singularity” meaning our current Western World Information Systems are in danger of slowing our progress by introducing much bureaucracy and bottlenecks to the flow of the information.
Why is this happening? Well many white papers, dissertations, research papers and data supporting the before mentioned have been corralled into pay websites and thus not readily available to all in the field. Often the paper you want is available under lock and key for a fee of anywhere from $20.00 to $1,000.00 or free with a subscription membership to those who wish to read it. Available only are the abstracts, titles and names of researchers. Of course that is capitalism and of course this is one way those who have made deals to host the works make money and pass some on to those who write them.
There of course are many Digital Library Systems, which are attempting to solve this problem, yet a good percentage of the information still remains under lock and key and thus is penalizing the forward progress of mankind. Indeed the problem comes when other more free flowing civilizations and societies get access to the rapid use of computers and the internet and implement digital library systems of their own, while simultaneously grabbing and sharing purchased information from those white paper holding companies who sell them to US researchers.
The United States Patent system also protects information for those who produce it, which provides incentive for those who do produce innovations to continue and get paid well. Unfortunately this system although excellent for motivating scientists and researchers has become so complicated that one has to hire a lawyer to comply with all the rules of the Six Story 600 million dollar patent office and bureaucracy and fees keep increasing, not because there is more work involved but because it is a giant mess and bureaucracy of Epic Proportions.
We have already seen the dire consequences of profit motivated hiding of governmental forms and documents which clearly should be boilerplate and available to all in Business Law and how this has stifled free enterprise. Indeed due to this hiding of these documents, integrated library system forms and boiler plate type agreements we have created artificial barriers to entry for many small businesses with more efficient business models, method of operations and prototypes. This costs business owners and entrepreneurs needless and endless amounts of monies; capital they should using to service their customers and increasing their businesses. Instead the entrepreneurs pay endless extortion fees to attorneys who hide the information, network with other lawyers and remain in cahoots with government regulators and agencies for the inside track on the rules and regulations which change more often than one changes their underwear. No, this is fact not an exaggeration, perhaps a poor non-politically correct one, but an honest one never the less.
The current paradigm of Western Culture blocking information for profit motivated interests has served us well until the present period, but now it threatens our ability to keep up with the speed of innovation and thus cripples our ability to compete in World Markets and stay ahead of the curve. It is serious for many reasons including the safety and protection militarily of our nation, for soon advances will be so fast that defense for a new super gizmo weapon, will not be possible. We need to come together as a World, perhaps one-world thinking so we can prevent the innovations from getting away from us, while still being able to compete in the future.
Additionally we are losing opportunities in rapid collaboration and thus losing time when the winner will be the most efficient and fastest collaborators and teams, which can draw information from the most sources instantaneously and the way things are that would not be the United States. We need to stop dodging the problem and get on the ball with Digital Libraries of the knowledge of mankind and then compete and win based on our own abilities and mindset. However if we continue the current tact without some modifications in our information flow, I fear that will not be possible and mind you I am not looking out ten-years on this comment, perhaps five, in fact it could be too late already. Not attempting to be an alarmist, but I did buy some cassette tapes to learn Chinese as the writing is on the wall whether you can read all those 30,000 symbols or not. Think on this.