The Copy/Remix/Social Evolution Sitch

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I just finished up watching Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything’s a Remix” series. When I first tstarted watching the clips, I thought he was going to be very preachy about open sources an whatnot, but it turns out that he was really low key and seemed to just be offering information to people; leaving it up to the viewer to make thier own decisions.

I found Part 3 to be the most interesting part in the series because it linked into the train of thought that I was on last night while listening to Jim Groom’s talk on remixes and the sharing of digital material. In class I was thinking about how philisophical and scientific theories are usually the result of multiple contributors. It would be too much information for a single person to gather, document, analyize, and then come to a conclusion that would last the test of time. Usually these jobs are distributed to different people. Addisitonally, these tasks are all pretty time consuming and often must be done over a longer time than a single person’s working life allows for. Also, any one person doesnt have all the answers. (That’s where the whole “two heads are better than one” thing comes into play.) Becuase of these factors, theories are build through communal efforts over the course of year. People build off of eacother’s work.. During this process people prove things to be false and bring overlooked aspects to the forefront. The final result it something that is far more accurate and uselful than anyhting that came before and certaintly better than any single person’s contributions.

It seems to me that this should be the same principal used in digital media. Ferguson terms the three steps that lead to new creations “copy,” “transform,” and “combined.” He suggests that these three steps drive social evolution; leading to innovation and progress. As I said, I agree with Ferguson that building off the ideas of others is a necessary aspect of progress in any field, I also understand why people are weary of the copying stage of this process. If I did something super fantastic (which, cross your fingers for me, will one day happen) I would want credit for it. In the same token, I think I would be okay with having other people build off of my idea to make a better final product that I could be part of, as long as my input was acknowledged.

That was long-winded. Sorry.

So that’s my take on the copy/remix/social evolution sitch. That will be it out of me for the evening :)

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