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Sometimes Ideas Are in the Air  (View post)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
16 years ago3,975 views

Discovering a new idea is the easy part. Getting it widely known and accepted is the hard part. So it's not surprising that the same idea is discovered multiple times.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I don't know if ALL scientific discoveries are "inevitable" – but some are definitely likely to happen from improvements in technology or new ideas diffusing through a culture.

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

We need to distinguish between science, technology, and technical applications first before further discussion.

You discover science stuffs, invent technology stuffs, and develop technical applications.

Mixing up them and talking about difficulty is confusing.

Bill Mac [PersonRank 9]

16 years ago #

<<You discover science stuffs.>>

Unless you're a Creationist, in which case you'll gladly fabricate all the "science" you need. But yeah, I agree, mostly. Though I think more accurately, science is described, not discovered*. There is no mystery to science, only in our inability to comprehend it completely.

*The principles exist whether we discover them or not.

Satan [PersonRank 6]

16 years ago #

Excellent point Bill Mac. Creationists are awesome! Without them, I wouldn't be able to exist!

No, seriously, great point. Scientific principles are only unearthed, never invented or created.

Rich [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

It's pretty obvious that these simultaneous discoveries are informed by the environment their inventors were working in.

Inevitable? Please! People do not work in isolation; ideas are cheap. It's the execution of it that makes the difference. There's nothing mystical in all this – you just have to understand that these inventors are people with large networks. I would be there are probably at least half a dozen cases where the inventors all shared their knowledge, perhaps through a third party, and then raced to a viable solution. The prize? A patent, and all the unbalancing benefits that go with it.

Yv. [PersonRank 7]

16 years ago #

It's just like nature, where four different species evolved from land animals to flying in different moments in time. I believe insects, a dinosaur, birds, and bats.

Ianf [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

So, basically, if original ideas are so inevitable and abundant, then that Intellectual Ventures outfit of Myhrvold's et al. must be seen as kind of supercharged legal vulture that feeds off any concurrent/ parallell inventor/ developer's energy (thanks to that XIX-century shipwreck that is the patent system in the West).

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