Eugenia’s First Law of Replication

I remembered the days when I was a young teenager today. Back then, there was only a single music store in my little town, selling LPs and cassettes. However, no one I knew had a vinyl player in my town in the late ’80s. The guy was living off selling cassettes mostly, cassettes that he had recorded himself from the LPs he couldn’t sell. Yes, he had some authentic cassettes in store to sell too, but these cost 2,000 to 3,000 drachmas at the time, while an unofficial, recorded cassette would cost about 500 drachmas. The choice was clear for all of us as who simply could not afford the official prices at the time “for something as useless as entertainment” (my mom, TM). Eventually, his business went under in the early ’90s, the guy could not make a serious buck, not even by pirating — and he had no other commercial competition in the area.

I bet that if there was a machine that would be able to replicate hardware (just like on Star Trek), people would just trade “programs” that allow them to replicate expensive furniture or high-fashion clothes, food or even simple machines.

My point is that if something can be replicated in one way or another, it will be. Piracy is not restricted to software/songs/ebooks and other non-materialistic goods. People just don’t want to spend money to acquire things, they prefer the freebies. But the market would collapse if everything was “free”.

You see, what is the incentive to spend years to become a scientist or an anti-viral biologist if your stomach is always full and your house full of useless replicated things? There simply isn’t any. People would stop working, would stop learning, would stop worrying about ends meet. The creation of the “market place” is what kickstarted our civilization 6,000 years ago and the demise of it will be the death of our civilization.

The Star Trek universe where “there is no money anymore” and everything is replicateable, simply does not work. Just like communism, it looks good on paper, but it doesn’t work in practice. People are more lazy and uninterested to learn universe’s mysteries than Picard is. YMMV, of course, but there are many rich kids today who simply “do nothing” with their lives. The same would happen with the population at large if they had everything in their plate instantaneously.

This does not mean that RIAA/MPAA/Oil-Tycoons don’t have enough money to spare some piracy (or sponsored official free copies) for the poor people. As everything in life, it’s all about balance. I think the solution here are more broad fair use laws (including less restrictive DRM, no encryption & regions encoding) and possibly also putting a cap on how much these corporations can abuse the system and the citizens.

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mikesum32 wrote on February 10th, 2007 at 3:15 AM PST:

Did Steven Spielberg give up movie making when he got rich ?

Did Bill Gates quit after he had his first billion (thousand million) ?

What about his fiftieth ?

Do Greek use thousand-million or billion ?

Bill Gates could make his own country in the middle of the ocean if he wanted to and never have to work.

Some people fail because they’ve learned to be helpless, they think they have no control.

I think your view is too simple.

Who will fix the replicators ? People will design new things to be replicated, just like people write new books, create new web pages, or design new cars. People will be able to replicate there own tools.

It will be an explosion of creativity.

Maybe I want to learn how to fly a model plane. I can replicate one.

Maybe I want an electron microscope or a mass spectrometer.

With the right tools and instruction I could learn what I want, and even make my own discoveries.

A replicator is just a tool. It would change the world, just like all the others.

It would be good and bad.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on February 10th, 2007 at 7:40 AM PST:

I don’t know about you guys, but if I was filthy rich, I wouldn’t move my finger. As I said, YMMV.


Luis wrote on February 10th, 2007 at 12:31 PM PST:

Creativity is an essential part of human beings.

Evolution kickstarted 6000 years ago (as you put it) because conditions were good enough (in certain places) for people to have free time and not have to work all the time to get food and survive. They used that free time to invent new things that would make things even easier.

The day we completely master the material world, we’ll put of new found free time into higher creativity.

Evolution always goes on.


mikesum32 wrote on February 10th, 2007 at 12:38 PM PST:

You see, what is the incentive to spend years to become a scientist or an anti-viral biologist if your stomach is always full and your house full of useless replicated things? There simply isn’t any. People would stop working, would stop learning, would stop worrying about ends meet. The creation of the “market place” is what kickstarted our civilization 6,000 years ago and the demise of it will be the death of our civilization.

Your logic is flawed. It’s like saying movies in the home will destoy cinema.

That’s what film studio thought when tv was invented, so they adopted widescreen.

It didn’t happen, and the world won’t collapse because people have more conveniences and free time.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on February 10th, 2007 at 12:51 PM PST:

>It’s like saying movies in the home will destroy cinema.

No, it is not like that AT ALL. Most people I know in my life, they would prefer to do absolutely nothing if they were rich. Just sit their ass all day long around, or go having fun with their friends. Life would be a big party. Very few of them would actually try to become or learn something via some effort (e.g. becoming doctors). Why the effort if they don’t have to do that? There’s no incentive to do anything from the moment you can have everything in life.


Richard wrote on February 11th, 2007 at 12:26 PM PST:

If I was rich I’d propably to do the same things I do today. :-)

Other than that, I do not believe that people are just there to consume. It takes a lot more to be a human, acceptance and recognition among your peers, a lot of people that I know take part in extensive activities in their freetime, they go hiking, the meet and talk, they are are part of amateur orchesters and bands, the go to the curch, the meet to create handicrafts together, they perform in and watch amateur theaters, there is plenty of opportunity to keep occupied, even if you have everything.


Michelle wrote on February 18th, 2007 at 3:15 AM PST:

I partially agree with Luis and also partially agree with Eugenia: many people will be even more creative if we don’t have to worry about material things. Others though will take the easy life. Those that do will be unfulfilled and live sad lives. We all need the tension of striving for something otherwise we wither and die.


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