The Internet of Things, as you may have noticed, is changing the world. Architecture, design and construction aren’t immune, as young architects no longer line up to work for the field’s undisputed stars, instead launching self-directed crowdsourced projects and using Kickstarter campaigns as a means to fund their own projects and seeking collaborators for projects big and small.
With projects like WikiHouse and the Resilient Modular Systems 2.0 digital platforms, now people can use a smartphone to connect with a manufacturer to order their house.
In some ways, that makes sense. Design no longer lives in a locked filing cabinet. The conversation I’m interested in is the virtual estate – what becomes of the ownership of digital property? (Who owns digital property). If you design a digital system, do you lose ownership if it’s widely reproduced in manufacturing?
The question arose in the 1990s with Napster, the internet company that allowed people to share music, in the form of MP3 files, with their peers. The industry panicked: Would people still pay for music if it wasn’t in the form of a physical compact disc?
The answer to that is still evolving, although iTunes and other music streaming services suggest a qualified “yes.”
But the details of how the internet and open source software changes who performs specific tasks and, perhaps equally important, who gets paid for that work, are still unresolved. Ownership at this stage in the contemporary digital conversation, therefore, becomes a more active concern than Authorship.
How do you protect your work?
That already is disrupting traditional views of innovation, and the global movement toward building a more sustainable future – increasing use of alternative energy, designing “smart” buildings that automatically adjust lighting, heating and air conditioning to conserve power – is a key example.