Thanks for the thought-provoking article. It goes to show how Open Innovation can be leveraged not only as a means to drive firm performance, but also as a vehicle to solve critical human challenges that we as a global community face. I agree that empowering refugee populations by providing them with connectivity and a platform to speak out is crucial, but the implementation must be done in a careful manner. I believe the input system must be anonymized and also provided to other stakeholders such as receiving governments, non-profits, and communities. Furthermore, for those populations particularly at risk (physical safety, environmental safety, etc.), I think the power of OI will be limited – this is where emergency responses can produce better results.
This is a very thought-provoking article; it almost seems as if the potential applications of additive manufacturing are endless. When it comes to construction, I believe that additive manufacturing may very well become the future of small-scale units such as single-family homes and side projects (new pool, new patio, etc.). Given the sheer scale and engineering required, I do not see additive manufacturing changing the game for skyscrapers or high rises.
As additive manufacturing proliferates, construction jobs will most definitely decrease. I would make the financial analogy of replacing labor expenses with capital expenditures. Therefore, one factor to keep in mind is the pushback from unions and the labor community in general.
A side thought: complex architectural designs often incur very high construction costs. With the help of additive manufacturing, we could also significantly reduce this added cost item.
I believe you hit the nail on the head when analyzing the game-changing benefits additive manufacturing can bring to space exploration. This isn’t simply about manufacturing, this is about enabling and supporting missions that by nature carry an incredible degree of uncertainty and risk. In space, where the allowed margin of error is zero, having these tools at hand will give astronauts significantly greater capabilities to navigate unexpected challenges or hitherto unknown environments. This is indeed an incredibly exciting time – to quote a certain franchise, we are beginning to tap on the doors of “Space… the final frontier.”
Your open question is a tough one to answer, but our experience with the moon may provide some guidance: According to the United Nations Outer Space Treaty, signed by every space-faring country, no nation can claim sovereignty over Earth’s lunar satellite. 102 countries have entered into to the 1967 accord; China joined in 1983. But space law scholars debate whether the Treaty actually implicitly prohibits, or allows, private ownership on celestial bodies. (http://nasawatch.com/archives/2014/02/who-owns-the-mo.html) A similar treaty may be signed once a manned mission to Mars draws near, but this still doesn’t answer your question about the legal rights of private corporations.
I can definitely see AM becoming a game changer in aerospace manufacturing, but I believe that the scope of disruption will be limited. Firstly, from a financial perspective, companies such as Boeing have undergone incredibly high capital expenditures to establish their current manufacturing processes. Cost savings and additional benefits must reach very high levels before the switch can be justified. Secondly, certain parts of the plane such as the hull or engines (Rolls Royce is the market leader here) cannot be readily produced using AM due to size, complexity, etc. (at least not yet). These are definitely obstacles that can be overcome, however, especially if AM technology continues to improve.
While definitely not on the same scale nor on the same level of scrutiny, the U.S. has seen similar applications in recent years as well. A startup co-founded by a friend of mine, Mark43, develops a cloud-based system that helps police officers, first aid responders, and others manage their vast amounts of data and use machine learning to gather operational insights. (https://www.fastcompany.com/40426359/the-big-business-of-police-tech) Your first question will largely depend on the jurisprudence of each individual country. I can see a future where countries with strong privacy protection laws such as the U.S. do not go as far with this technology as countries with centralized governmental power such as China. As for preventing abuse, this is where I am quite wary of implementing such technologies. Those who end up in charge of this system need to be held to the highest standards of integrity and secrecy, which is far easier said than done.
P.S. The movie “Eagle Eye” is an action film premised on the FBI’s secret machine learning AI going rogue and deciding that the assassination of the entire government is the only way to protect the U.S. constitution. Fascinating plot, decent movie.
As somebody who is passionate about public policies and the political process, I found this piece very interesting and thought-provoking. OI seems to possess significant potential as a medium through which all citizens can take agency and participate in policymaking. I do wonder whether similar engagement levels and enthusiasm can be replicated in the absence of strong impetuses such as hosting the Olympic Games on home soil. In addition, I am not knowledgable about the Brazilian political environment but I can see similar efforts in the U.S. today drawing less participation due to the general cynicism around politics in America. To address your questions, I personally believe that this OI model is the most effective when addressing real economic issues that citizens face. Your examples of public transportation and urban development are exactly those. Public discourse and innovation will likely break down when dealing with politically charged topics and areas requiring significant expertise. In terms of ensuring its continuity through political party changes, there could be a public bipartisan commitment to support OI projects, much like government agencies (EPA, Small Business Administration, NASA, etc.) receive support regardless of which party is in charge.
While I agree with the significant value-add that virtual training can potentially bring to our troops, I believe that the scope of DoD investments should be limited. As you point out, modern warfare is increasingly shifting away from troop deployment and rather towards hacking, drones, latest-generation machinery such as fighter jets and nuclear submarines, etc. A majority of the $686B defense spending specifically goes towards this last item, which seems to be a strategically reasonable allocation. In addition, crucial qualities such as discipline, mental fortitude, and teamwork are forged much more effectively at conventional bootcamps and training bases. Thus, I believe that virtual training could be a reasonable program to pilot on a limited scale with select special force squads such as the SEALs and the Green Beret.