Civilization starter kit | Marcin Jakubowski | TEDxKC

Translator: Capa Girl
Reviewer: Ariana Bleau Lugo My name is Marcin. I am a farmer, technologist, born in Poland, now in the US. I started a group “Open Source Ecology” and we took on a very big, hairy, audacious goal. We’ve identified the 50 most important machines that allow for modern life to exist, the things we rely on everyday, whether we know it or not. Everything from a tractor to an oven, to a circuit maker. Then we created an open source, DIY version that anyone can build and maintain at a fraction of the cost. We call this the “Global Village Construction Set”. Are we reinventing the wheel here? Well, yes. So let me tell you a story. I finished in my twenties with a PhD in Fusion Energy. And I discovered that I was useless. (Laughter) I had no practical skills, the world presented me with options and I took them. I guess you can call it the consumer lifestyle. So, I started a farm in Missouri and learned about the economics of farming. I bought a tractor, then it broke, I paid to get it repaired, then it broke again, and pretty soon I was broke too. I realized that the truly effective, low-cost tools that I needed to build a sustainable life and settlement just didn’t exist yet. I needed tools that were robust, modular, highly-efficient and optimized, low-cost, made from local and recycled materials, designed for a lifetime not obsolescence. I found that I would have to build them myself. So I did just that and I tested them and I found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale. So then I published the free designs, schematics, instructional videos and budgets on a Wiki. Then contributors from all over the world, began showing up prototyping new machines during dedicated project visits. (Laughter) So far we’ve prototyped 8 of the 50 machines and the project is beginning to grow on its own. We know that open-source has succeeded with software, and tools from managing knowledge and creativity. And the same is beginning to happen with hardware too. We’re focusing on hardware because it’s hardware that can change people’s lives in such tangible, material ways. If we can lower the barriers to farming, building, manufacturing then we can unleash massive amounts of human potential. And not only in the developing world. We’ve seen lots of excitement from American farmers, builders, makers who can harness our published library to start a construction business, parts manufacturing, organic CSA, or just to sell power back to the grid. Our goal is a published library of instructional material so complete, so clear, that a single burned DVD is effectively a civilization starter-kit. I’ve planted a hundred trees in a day, I’ve pressed 5000 bricks in one day from the dirt beneath my feet, and I built a tractor in six days. And from what I’ve seen, this is only the beginning. If this idea is truly sound then the implications are significant. A greater distribution of the means of production, environmentally sound supply chains, and the newly relevant DIY maker culture can hope to transcend artificial scarcity. We’re asking the question, “What are the limits of open-source hardware in terms of what we all can do to make a better world?” Thank you. (Applause)

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