Will the DIY Movement Change the Economy, Education, and Innovation Forever?

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 1 2012 5:38 PM

Will the DIY Movement Change the Economy, Education, and Innovation Forever?

Yesterday, Future Tense hosted an event called “Tinkering With Tomorrow: Will the DIY Movement Craft the Future?” at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. Make magazine’s Dale Dougherty, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Tom Kalil, TechShop founder Jim Newton, Kickstarter’s Cindy Au, and many others joined journalists—including Slate’s David Plotz and Matt Yglesias, the New York Times’ Annie Lowrey, and ArsTechnica’s Timothy Lee—about the movement’s philosophy, its implications for the economy and for intellectual property law, and more.

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

Watch Peter Diamandis of the X-Prize Foundation explain why the DIY movement will help make the future better.


Several key questions came up repeatedly during the five-hour-long conversation: What difference—if any—is there between “crafting” and “making”? Is it possible for creative, agile startups to retain their DIY sensibility if they are absorbed by large companies? Why is the movement so dominated by men? Can we build the DIY ethos into the K-12 curriculum by reimagining shop class with 3-D printers and other technologies? What can the traditional STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and medicine—learn from DIY about integrating creativity and art into their work? ASU’s Mitzi Montoya, dean of the College of Technology and Innovation, argues that we should instead refer to STEAM, with arts built in. And will DIY change how we work forever? Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson raised the provocative thought that that we are seeing the end of the “job” as people cobble together livings from different gigs, like using AirBNB, Kickstarter, and Etsy.

You can watch the event on New America’s website. Links to articles published on Slate’s Future Tense channel in recent days associated with “Tinkering With the Future” are below. If you like what you see, sign up for the Future Tense newsletter to get thought-provoking articles about emerging technologies—plus events announcements—sent to you weekly.

The Crowdsourcing of Talent: Scientists are using video games to make major breakthroughs. Are they revolutionizing how we manage labor at the same time?” by Jeffrey Howe.

The Real Victims in the Patent Wars: How the software industry's litigation explosion is devastating small startups,” by Timothy Lee.

Will 3-D Printing Change Your Life? Probably, but not in the ways you’d expect,” by Will Oremus.

The DIY Copyright Revolution: How 3-D printing will change the way we think about intellectual property,” by Michael Weinberg.

What Beer Can Teach Us About Emerging Technologies: The home-brew movement serves as a lesson in DIY innovation,” by Dave Conz.

The WikiHouse Revolution: Will open-source DIY architecture usher in a new age of architectural innovation?” by Jeremy Kingsley.

Print Your Own Prosthetic Limb: In Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler explain how 3-D printing and infinite computing will change everything.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.



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