On Innovation: Don’t Ask for Permission

Adam Thierer joins Libertarianism.org’s Building Tomorrow Podcast to discuss evasive entrepreneurialism and permissionless innovation.

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Tech companies are often accused of acting without first thinking through all the ramifications of what they’re doing on the principle that it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Adam Thierer joins the show to talk about a good habit, something he calls evasive entrepreneurialism. If innovators always waited for regulatory approval first, it would delay consumer access to transformative and even life-saving tech. Permissionless innovation in the relatively regulatory-free internet sandbox of the 1990s-2000s is what drove a great deal of tech innovation and wealth creation in Silicon Valley; the same could be true for other tech sectors in the future. Paul and Will also play a lightening round of “Overrated / Underrated” with Adam revealing a surprising love for malted beverages and the barter system.

Who are evasive entrepreneurs? Are there too many barriers to entry in the technology field? How does tech enable civil disobedience? What tech is ‘born free’? What is a regulatory risk? What is the pacing problem with technology? What is the precautionary principle? Should you intentionally diversify your twitter feed?

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General Overview

Will innovators be forced to seek the blessing of public officials before they develop and deploy new devices and services, or will they be generally left free to experiment with new technologies and business models? If they aren’t free to experiment, the result will be fewer services, lower-quality goods, higher prices, and diminished economic growth. […]

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Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is one of the best examples of permissionless innovation in action today. Just a few years ago, most people had not even heard the term. Today, many of us are active participants in this rapidly evolving industry. The term “sharing economy” refers to any marketplace that brings together distributed networks of people to get more value out of underutilized assets for both profit and fun.

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Big Data

Many of the information technologies that we take for granted today are not the result of some initial grand design. Rather, entrepreneurs used preexisting data sets in interesting new ways after the fact. That’s the power of big data. Data collection and data sets are used to tailor new and better digital services to us. Online content and service is cheap or even free thanks to targeted ads based on big data.

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Drones, Driverless Cars, and A.I.

The robots are coming! Advances in machine learning and automation are ushering in a new era of digital workers. In the near future, drones, driverless cars, and artificial intelligence can seamlessly coordinate and transport goods and people across the globe for very little cost. But first, we need to get our policies right.

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Advanced Medical Technology

Technology is rapidly improving the ways by which the medical industry can enhance our lives and save billions of dollars in health care costs. Researchers use 3D printers to cheaply create medical devices that can be directly implanted into the human body. Already, doctors have fashioned 3D-printed splints to help children with rare breathing disorders and have successfully implanted a 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs into a cancer patient.

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Internet of Things

The next big wave of data-driven technological innovation will connect physical devices embedded with tiny computing devices to the Internet in an effort to seamlessly improve the measurements, communications, flexibility, and customization of our daily needs and activities. This “Internet of Things” (IoT) is already growing at a breakneck pace and is expected to continue to accelerate rapidly.

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