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Marcin Jakubowski on Open Source Ecology: From Mud Hut to Singularity in 1 Day

Marcin JakubowskiSome people are just outright unreasonable: they refuse to adapt to the world and, instead, try to adapt the world to themselves. Marcin Jakubowski is one of those crazy people who has been trying to open source a civilization starter kit from the ground up. Now, as we know, most unreasonable people fail. But those who make it through end up changing the world. And I sure hope Marcin is one of those. So I could not pass the opportunity to have him on Singularity 1on1 and talk about being unreasonable and the work that he does.

During our 1 hour discussion with Marcin Jakubowski we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: why he considers himself farmer-scientist and open source ecologist; scarcity, distribution and post-scarcity; the definition, mission and goals of open source ecology; the civilization starter kit of 50 irreplaceable machines; Richard Stallman’s free software vs the open source software movement; patents, innovation and Jaron Lanier’s criticism that open source lacks it; Catarina Mota’s PhD thesis on open source hardware; self-sufficiency and Marcin’s concept of “true freedom”; the size and cost of his open source eco houses; Jakubowski’s current crowdfunding campaign together with the Open Building Institute

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes or make a donation.

Who is Marcin Jakubowski?

Marcin Jakubowski is a Polish-American who came to the U.S. from Poland as a child. He graduated with honors from Princeton and earned his Ph.D. in fusion physics from the University of Wisconsin. Frustrated with the lack of relevance to pressing world issues in his education, he founded Open Source Ecology in 2003 in order to make closed-loop manufacturing a reality. He began development of the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS)—an open source tool set of 50 industrial machines necessary to create a small civilization with modern comforts. His work has recently been recognized as a 2012 TED Senior Fellow, in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012, as a 2013 Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, and a White House Champion of Change in 2013.


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  • People interested in this might also be interested in Lewis Dartnell’s book “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch”. Google the author’s name and you’ll find his book and some talks including one he did at Google and TED.

    Lewis Dartnell is a an Astrobiologist at Leicester University. He would probably make a good guest for your show. He would likely be well aware of the themes on your show.

  • Morand Studer

    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”

  • xvl260

    Copyright should be abolished but that’s not the issue with innovation in this case, patent is. I’m for dramatically shortening patent length or even eliminating most patents. Because most patented stuff needs specialized machinery to make them, so they can protect their monopoly initially by keeping the process secret. But eventually of course it’ll get reverse engineered and probably improved.

  • Great news! We’re 107% funded, and have a few days left. Support modular open source eco-housing and follow progress updates at http://kck.st/293ISTN.

  • Dan Vasii

    The guy is awsome!! The ideas are overly great!

  • Totally agree with you Dan, which is why I had him on my podcast 😉

  • Great news friend, I have reshared your interview everywhere across my social media again so hopefully we can help you raise a bit more 😉

  • Thanks for sharing, Socrates:)

  • No problem – I am happy it’s worked out for you because you really deserve it!

  • Leo

    Nice to hear you made the step to veganism. great episode. keep up the good work!
    would be nice to hear you talk with New Harvest about cellular agriculture, they are very reachable.

  • Yes indeed! Can you perhaps elaborate a bit on why you believe that cellular agriculture will be a good fit for Singularity 1on1 and add a link or something 😉

  • Leo

    Well I think animal agriculture is so inefficient and outdated that it doesn’t fit a post singularity world.
    With cellular agriculture you can imagine open source processes that would allow people/communities/companies to produce their “animal products” without the expense of a traditional farm/messy use of animals.
    It’s very prone to automation in levels that are far higher that conventional agriculture, it requires less energy, less resources, so in all these ways, it fits to the idea of exponential progress. Having exponential growith in food without cellular agriculture is going to be physically very difficult. It would be nice to hear what New Harvest think of their “industry” and it’s role in accelerating change in health, reduce environmental impacts, etc.
    you can reach them on http://www.new-harvest.org/contact

    I have never heard them directly mention the singularity, but they are very open minded and I think it would make a good episode.

    all the best

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