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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Phun-size Philosophy # 32 – Deriving From

Deriving from something means that you have progressed from an originating point where things start developing their skills, abilities, and basically all other facets of life. For instance, you derive from your parents and inherit traits that they possess. It doesn’t just have to apply to the collective beings of humans though as it usually can include almost anything else in existence that has had multiple iterations and modifications made from it. When you derive from something you take parts of other things that are the help lay the foundation from which future things will come into existence from. In order to have a strong base to build off of you need to take hints, processes, ideas etc from previous generations that have been reinforced with time and experience. You know from basically the Stone Age that a round wheel is way better functioning than a square one so in order to build the next super car you need to take that into consideration and derive future ideas and concepts from past ones. This is where I like to go into the concept of originality because in some way shape or form everything is derived from something that has happened in past generations. Whether it has been a toothbrush or TV show, the underlying parts that it is comprised of have usually been done before. For instance, I found this little gem on the internet at that basically summarizes all the different tricks and structures used in TV shows. By taking and mixing together these different tropes you can basically get the plotline or story of almost any show in existence. The important part when taking something from someone else is that you have to innovative in its implementation and basically but a twist on it in order to make it unique and a breakthrough product that can be used to better humanity. I need to stress is that with this post I am in no way condoning stealing or plagiarism or anything of the sort. With all great ideas there is almost always a copyright associated with it to ensure the protection of their intellectual property. Patents are another way to try and prevent fraudulent copies. They can be used by companies called patent trolls who hold onto patents of generic things especially in the technology sector. I know of one in particular that Apple holds on sliding an icon over from the left to the right. That means that if any other phone manufacturer tries to put an “unlock by sliding your finger” thing on their phone they would have to pay Apple royalty fees or risk getting sued for patent infringement. This is one negative I find with patents and while they are helpful, I believe at some points they do stifle innovation by taking ownership of ideas and actions. It could be a viable way for creators to be compensated and recognized for their creations or inventions but only if implemented correctly. Right now if you put in a request for a patent through the U.S. patent office it will take about 6 years for it to get reviewed and approved. That is not acceptable in my opinion. I think it is important to pick and choose and mix and match what has already been done to find out new combinations and possibly discover better meshes or iterations of already great things. I think that if you have a great vision it is possible to put other ideas and products to better use. There may be an intended use for a certain product but it is completely possible that it could be implemented in another fashion to achieve a desired result that was never thought of before. There are plenty of inventions that had come about by a mistake or accident. My personal favorite was the ice cream cone that resulted from an ice cream vendor running out of cups to serve his treat on so he asked a nearby waffle seller to wrap a waffle into a cone and voila, the modern day ice cream cone. Maybe you see a hole in society that could be filled by mixing two different foods together or something entirely different. The possibilities are endless!

-Allan Nicholas

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