Government as the killer of innovation

"Nolan Bushnell founded Atari, employed Steve Jobs, built a bunch of robots . . . " Inc. magazine has this interesting discussion:

Nolan Bushnell is an aging entrepreneur with a white beard -- and, as one might expect, he is sympathetic to the dreams of singularitarians. He believes that robots, of one kind or another, will be central to our lives within two decades. Ask him to imagine the future, and he will tell you about cell phones implanted in our ears and MP3 players controlled with buttons under our tongues. And, of course, cars will drive themselves. "There are so many benefits," Bushnell says, as if to marvel at the fact that it hasn't happened yet. "Accident rates go to zero. You can get home when you're drunk. Kids can get to school without parents. Gas mileage goes up." He could go on and on.

But, unlike committed believers in the singularity, Bushnell also has deep-seated doubts about the future. He worries that regulations will derail the next generation of inventors, and that venture capitalists -- or "lemming capitalists," as he calls them -- will systematically ignore important ideas in pursuit of short-term returns. Much as he'd like to have his Prius run on autopilot, he doesn't know if it will happen in his lifetime. "It all depends on how big the government will get, how pervasive regulation will be," he says. "Right now, the pace of technological growth is just not fast enough." . . . .



Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Thank you Dr. Lott.

As a programmer of Robots, automation, and other platforms, I have never found myself limited by lack of imagination, but only by those whom employed me.

Even in the private sector, politics override common sense when it comes to making something better.

Joe Blow engineer, who has his probiscus inserted between the glutes of the boss, gets far more attention to his or her's ideas than does one with knowledge of the actual solution to the problem.

Those whom lack intelligence fear those with intelligence, and in so doing, attack.

Those who pay, get regulations, and votes for their pet projects.


Fear drives many, yet those who do not fear, are ignored or worse.

4/21/2009 11:10 PM  

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