Is the Third Industrial Revolution at Hand?

Jarkko Moilanen & Tere Vadén have reported that, according to Harvard professor Yochai Benkler, we are indeed entering into a new phase of industrial production. While most shifts in industrial production are centered on revolutionary technologies, Benkler contends that this new phase in industrial evolution is dependent on “commons-based peer production.”  Put simply, “commons-based peer production” is the process of developing and producing a product in a shared, open and non-hierarchical environment. 

When you visit Wikipedia, you’re visiting a site based on the “commons-based peer production” model.  The same is true for Linux and all P2P networks.  Most interesting though is the community that is growing up around 3D printing technology.  The best example of this community is the one focused on the development of the RepRap project, a “low-cost, open source rapid prototyping system.” 

Benkler believes that technologies like the RepRap, and new modes of production are fundamentally changing the industrial landscape. To find out more about Benkler’s idea, check out his book The Wealth of Networks, or take a look at this survey of the 3D printing community.