Patently-O Bits and Bytes by Juvan Bonni

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  1. 1

    ” Innovation’s Hidden Externalities”

    Ivory tower claptrap.

    1. 1.1

      Looking at two things for this article:

      Its beginning and its end.

      The beginning paints the assumptions taken as conclusions (my emphasis added):
      This Article challenges that view, arguing that innovation does impose negative externalities on contemporary and future innovators, thereby making it more difficult for them to innovate [1]. It discusses three mechanisms by which these negative externalities arise.

      The first is through path dependencies. Path dependencies in innovation can limit the innovative potential of other innovators by effectively foreclosing particular areas of study or by directing innovation along less productive paths [2].

      A second mechanism by which innovation imposes negative externalities on other innovators is through the workings of social norms. Social norms that become entrenched in innovative communities can lead innovators to adopt sub-optimal research agendas and methodologies [3].

      Third, particular innovations may work on those who adopt them at a psychological level, changing their cognition and thought processes in ways that negatively impact their future ability [4]to innovate.

      [1] Life is full of difficulties, and it is a supreme lack of appreciation of the human spirit in viewing ‘difficulty’ as a bad thing.

      [2] This ‘path is constrained’ is evidence of a lack of understanding of the nature of innovation. It is WHY – for example – 35 USC 101 must be a wide opening gate rather than a constraining one. It is also a heavy handed Neo-Liberal throw back to the Marxist “State will plan everything” mentality. There is simply far too much concern (read that as officious interference) with what the academic may deem as ‘productive’ because – gasp – something important to the academic (like some social value) has NOT seen innovation forces moving THAT value front and center.

      [3] – same mindset and problems as [2]. The real ‘problem’ here is that the social reality is just not the reality that this academic wants.

      [4] – utter hogwash, as detailed below.

      The end paints THIS academic’s desired Ends (again, my emphasis):

      certain innovations may be exerting an influence on innovators’ brains and the way they think, negatively impacting their proficiency at cognitive tasks—like attention, working and episodic memory, abstract reasoning, general intelligence, impulse control, and empathic accuracy—associated with and required for creative thinking, potentially leading to long-term, adverse effects on creativity.

      The “certain innovations” are targeted as to “digital innovations.”

      That is to say, this article is aimed AT innovations dealing with computing and theorizes that making modern day devices that handle computing tasks leaves the general population (and thereby the ENTIRE POOL of future innovators) LESS capable of innovating.

      It is clear that this person wants to NOT protect only certain types of innovation – and in so doing, exhibits a fundamental lack of understanding of innovations’ cross-over effects.

      It is also clear that this is FAR too much of an Ivory Tower and lack of real interaction view. This is a ‘solution’ in search of a problem, if but for the notion that any ‘loss’ in creativity would (per the author) diminish innovation which ON ITS OWN would then remove the problem itself such that with diminished innovation, the “negative externalities” themselves necessarily diminish.

      The author employs a strict academic correlation of the different externality of pollution, and confuses the trend of “more value” with no concomitant loss of value that would naturally occur. Instead, the academic wants to insert an officious (and indeed Ivory Tower alteration on types of innovation.

      There is even the ‘academic’ imposition of “social welfare” (which sounds suspiciously like Neo-Liberalism intrusions with the results of such current outlandishness as “math is Racyist” and “objective scientific facts are bad.” The let’s move away from Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand mantra is a clue that THIS tripe should be extinguished quickly and with a vengeance. It is clear that this is indeed claptrap and an attempt to capture even science and innovation under some “Social Justice” brigade.

      So while the last line sounds all noble (“Doing so, and calibrating innovation policy accordingly, should result in a more nuanced, humble, and sustainable approach to innovation”) the value laden subjective element of “humble” is a red flag, especially since what is NOT liked happened to have been the very thing that not only was ‘sustainable,’ but was the thing that accelerated the grand US experiment to make the US INTO the gold standard and bring about not only the types of innovation this academic does not like, but the OVERALL level of innovation for the US (as world leader).

      The “growing concern with social welfare effects” has NO legitimate place in innovation discussions.

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