“Every industrial revolution is also a social revolution”: an interview with Peter Troxler

Open Source is a rather controversial issue, a central one in the debate about the new relations of production, and those who fight against it or stand up for it spend big doses of intellectual energy to prove their point. In such a crucial struggle, Peter Troxler is a renowned and respected leader of the Open Source thinking. As an independent researcher of Open Source business models, he has opened to many of us the doors to a new way of set out intellectual property relationships, and consequently to raise again the subject of how to develop a world with new intersections between producers and consumers.

During the last Replic_age Fest he made a brilliant speech about the meaning and consequences of the developing Third Industrial Revolution, that we summarized in a separate post. After his talk, he was so kind to give us some minutes to ask him some questions to discuss further some of his ideas. He was unaffected and clear, exuding authenticity and frankness.

P.N. You have made a deep insight on what it starts to be known as the Third Industrial Revolution, and you are a well-known promoter of Open Design… How do you consider that designers should interact with other field specialists in this new context?

P.T. Personally, I collaborate with designers and many different professionals from other areas (engineers, etc.) generating new movements and consciousness. Fab Labs are an excellent places for this kind of cooperation. But individual initiatives are also very important.

Peter Troxler on stage at Replic_age 2014
Peter Troxler at Replic_age 2014

P.N. How could Fab Labs get closer to business?

P.T. Hopefully they won’t. I think they should keep their independence as experimentation centers, without getting commercialized. What we should export from Fab Labs to business is their methods and projects: this could pass into business indeed, but not the Fab Labs as such.

P.N. During your talk you have warned us about the dangers of this new world we are creating, specifically in the Maker area. You have remarked the risk of an “occidental white man thinking” leading this revolutionary movement, instead of a wider global thinking. Which other dangers were you referring to, besides this one?

P.T. I think the main point is to keep a basis of awareness, to be really attentive to any wrong use that we could made of the new means of production and communication. I want to stress the importance of this state of constant awareness, as it is the essential basis for us to build something truly good and solid.

P.N. In some way, are you talking about a social revolution, as well as an industrial revolution?

P.T. Every industrial revolution is also a social revolution. Look around you, we are now talking at a former slaughterhouse from the First Industrial Revolution*, repurposed. It implies a complete turnaround. There is no industrial revolution without social revolution.

*Note: Replic_age was hold on Matadero Madrid, an old slaughterhouse reconverted to a cultural center.

PostDigital Node

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