venerdì 12 febbraio 2016

FUTURE IMPERFECT di David D. Friedman - open source 9

NINE Reactionary Progress - Amateur Scholars and Open Source

  • Splendidi dilettanti: Malthus and Darwin were clergymen, Mendel a monk, Smith a mining engineer, Hutton a gentleman farmer, Mill a clerk and writer, Ricardo a retired stock market prodigy. Of the names I have listed, only Newton was a university professor
  • In the twentieth century, on the other hand, most of the major figures in all branches of scholarship have been professional academics.
  • Why did things change? One possible answer is the enormous increase in knowledge. When fields were new, most scholars did not need access to vast libraries.
  • The Web, while not a complete substitute for a library, makes enormous amounts of information readily available
  • An alternative explanation... downward spread of education. In the eighteenth century, someone sufficiently well educated to invent a new science was likely to be a member of the upper class, and hence had a good chance of not needing to work for a living.
  • most educated people today are rich - rich enough to make a tolerable living and still have time and effort left to devote to their hobbies.
  • These arguments suggest that, having shifted from a world of amateur scholars to a world of professionals, we may now be shifting back.
  • Two examples: Robin Hanson... His hobby was inventing institutions. His ideas - in particular an ingenious proposal to design markets to generate information - were sufficiently novel and well thought out to make corresponding with him more interesting than corresponding with most of my fellow economists.
  • Esempio 2. One of my hobbies for the past thirty years has been cooking from very early cookbooks... When I started... There were no translations of early cookbooks in print and very few in libraries... The situation has changed enormously over the past thirty years... the biggest change is that there are now at least seven English translations of early cookbooks on the Web, freely available to anyone interested... Most of the translations were done by amateurs for the fun of it.
  • The professionals, on average, know much more than the amateurs do, but there are a lot more amateurs and some of them know quite a lot.
  • amateurs have access not only to information but to each other, as well as to any professional
  • OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE
  • rising incomes and improved communication technology make it easier to produce things for fun.
  • The best-known example is Linux... graduate student named Linus Torvalds.
  • The mechanics of open source are simple. Someone comes up with a first version of the software. He publishes the source code. Other people interested in the program modify it - which they are able to do because they have the source code - and send their modifications to him. Modifications that he accepts go into the code base,
  • Eric Raymond: open source has its own set of norms and property rights.
  • Linus Torvalds owns Linux. Eric Raymond owns Fetchmail. A committee mittee owns Apache... anyone is free to modify... provided that he makes the source code to his modified version public... each can take advantage of improvements made by the others.
  • such ownership is controlled by rules similar to the common law rules. Torvalds: If he loses interest he can transfer ownership to someone else.
  • There is a second form of ownership in open source - credit for your work. Each project is accompanied by a file identifying the authors.
  • open source movement is simply a new variation on the system under which most of modern science was created. ated. Programmers create software; scholars create ideas.
  • Scientific theories do not have owners in quite the sense that open source projects do, but at any given time in most fields there is considerable able agreement as to what the orthodox body of theory is.
  • JIMMY WALES'S IMPOSSIBLE SUCCESS
  • Few projects seem less suited to the open source approach than writing an encyclopedia. For it to be a success readers must rely on it, so a mistake in one article casts doubt on others.
  • In 2001, Jimmy Wales created Wikipedia
  • Open source radicale. With rare exceptions, any article can be edited anytime by anyone.
  • More often than one might expect, the article evolves to a consensus, a statement of differing views that both sides can agree on.
  • MARKET AND HIERARCHY
  • firms themselves are miniature socialist states... There is one crucial difference between Microsoft and Stalin's Russia. Microsoft's interactions with the rest of us are voluntary.
  • The easier it is for a dispersed group of individuals to coordinate their activities, ities, the larger we would expect the role of decentralized coordination, market rather than hierarchy, in the overall mix... the existence of the Internet had shifted the balance between center and periphery.
  • Eli Lilly had decided to subcontract part of its chemical research to the world at large... according to a story in the Wall Street Journal, they had gotten "about 1,000 scientists from India, China, and elsewhere in the world"
  • Problema: lavoro occulto: Consider a chemist hired to work in an area related to one of the problems on the list. He has an obvious temptation to slant... A chemist paid by firm A while working for firm B
  • INFORMATION WARFARE
  • Internet supports decentralized forms of cooperation. It supports decentralized forms of conflict as well.
  • Una brutta storia con scambi di identità e furti di password
  • Case 1: The Tale of the Four Little Pigs
  • The year is 1995, the place Cornell University. Four freshmen have compiled piled a collection of misogynist jokes entitled "75 Reasons Why Women (Bitches) Should Not Have Freedom of Speech" and sent copies to their friends.
  • The central question is whether creating such a list and using email to transmit it is an offense that ought to be punished or a protected exercise of free speech.
  • La preside ipicrita:     the students have offered to do the following: Each of them will attend the "Sex at 7:00" program... the students have offered to do the following: Each of them will attend the "Sex at 7:00" program... Each of them has committed to perform 50 hours of community service.
  • There are at least two ways to interpret that outcome. One is that Ms. Krause is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - Cornell imposed no penalty on the students, they imposed an entirely voluntary penalty. Molto syranom
  • The alternative interpretation starts with the observation that university sity administrators have a lot of ways of making life difficult for students.
  • Risultato: They publicly maintained their commitment to free speech while covertly punishing students for what they said.
  • Someone who preferred the second interpretation thought up a novel way of supporting it. An email went out: Now that we have had time to evaluate the media response, I think we can congratulate ourselves on a strategy that was not only successful cessful in defusing the scandal, but has actually ally enhanced the reputation of the university as a sanctuary for those who believe that "free speech"... Yours sincerely Barbara L. Krause...
  • The letter was not, of course, actually written by Barbara Krause... It was written, and sent, by an anonymous group calling themselves OFFAL - Online Freedom Fighters Anarchist Liberation. The letter was a satire,
  • unattractive picture of what its authors suspected Ms. Krause's real views were.
  • Email is not only easily distributed, it is easily answered.
  • OFFAL produced a second email, containing the original forgery, an explanation of what they were doing,
  • Their summary: We believe that ridicule is a more powerful ful weapon than bombs or death threats. And we believe that the Internet is the most powerful ful system ever invented for channeling grassroots roots
  • The correct point was that Cornell's actions could plausibly be interpreted preted as hypocritical - attacking free speech while pretending to support it.
  • What I find interesting about the incident is that it demonstrates a form of information warfare made practical by the nature of the net - very low transaction costs, anonymity, no face-to-face contact.
  • Some years ago on a Usenet group, I read the following message: I believe that it is okay to have sex before marriage unlike some people... Please write me and give me your thoughts on this. You can also tell me about some of your ways to excite a woman because I have not yet found the right man to satisfy me....
  • It occurred to me that what I was observing might be a commercial variant of the OFFAL tactic.
  • that form of information warfare has been used frequently enough online to have acquired its own nickname: "Joe job."
  • A Sad Story
  • Furto d'identità e di password. Tizio finisce dentro xchè qlcn accede alla sua mail.
  • For my present purposes what is interesting is not which side was guilty but the fact that either side could have been, and the problems that fact raises for the world that they were, and we will be, living in.
  • solution is some way of knowing who sent what message.... One possible solution is the use of biometrics, identification linked to physical characteristics such as fingerprints or retinal patterns.
  • digital signatures,
  • OPEN SOURCE CRIME CONTROL
  • Fregato su ebay reagisce: online private investigator who, from the buyer's cell phone number, was able to get his real name and landline phone number. Attempts to interest the Chicago police department, the FBI, and the Secret Service were unsuccessful... "not large enough to interest us"
  • Finta asta. decided on a little private entrapment, set up an auction on eBay of the same computer under his girlfriend's name... Markham police... arrested the criminal with more than $10,000 in bogus checks in his possession.10
  • The reason I know about it is that, when looking for material for this part of the chapter, I put a post on my blog asking for examples of open source crime control. The next day I had responses with links to several stories, including Jason's. I found his story the same way he found his criminal.
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