The Problem –
The biotechnology industry is a rapidly growing field but it is stymied by the limitations inherent in any sector that its workforce needs to be highly educated and its infrastructure established in order to get funding and hope to succeed. There are, however, millions of people who have practical ideas or have an issue that is in need of more research but which there are not any good solutions as of yet. A small number of these people can take their ideas and needs and turn them into a business, but for most people, the idea of starting a business is far from feasible, on the off chance starting one has crossed their mind at all. Many ideas that people have are not lucrative on their own to warrant the effort that it would take to make money off of them or they do not have the skill set to implement the ideas on their own. A large percentage of those few business ideas that do come to life, get gobbled up into the competitive corporate market, meaning only a tiny fraction of science based ideas ever see the light of day.
The Solution –
The Other Realm’s idea is to create a cooperative that enables us to market our solutions to life’s challenges without giving up our sovereignty.
The Other Realm will be both an online platform that lets people bring their ideas to a larger market and a shared research, education and development community. The aim is to lessen the burden of any one person to need to shoulder all of the risks and challenges that come with business ownership – where solidarity is not at the detriment to our individuality but an enhancement of it. The online platform would be maintained by those who had the time, interest and skill in web development and marketing. Then a buffer fund of a portion of the earnings of each partner would be established and of which a sub portion would pay the upkeep and further development of the site by these individuals. The remainder of the buffer fund will be then distributed evenly back to the cooperative members annually or at other times. This buffer ensures that, if any one group falls on a hard spot, they will not go under and ensures the maintenance of the platform is ensued.
Stage 1 – Multi-Modality Media Menagerie
This will start out as a blog about novel uses for organisms and the science behind them. Aimed at those currently living the epitome of a slightly less than middle class life, with little in the way of a scientific or technical background, the content aims at providing clear, logical evidence based findings and at the same time, making people think critically about what all this means to them. It will then expand into podcast and video streams in a similar market sector. Eventually the hope is to branch out into the fiction genre with the creation of a series that is set in the near future. A group of unlikely folk will band together to defuse the tension between the media, politics, technology, and everyone else. The aim is for the fiction to be constrained to only the story telling part of the tale and to be used as another way of disseminating science. This will also play nicely as an advertising venue for our online platform.
Stage 2 – Web Platform
With an audience established, the next stage will be a central web platform for independent partners who have developed an application of these natural products. The idea is to empower these individuals by providing tools to market and sell them. A cooperative endeavor, the aim is create a site in a similar vein as Amazon Marketplace or eBay, only for living organisms (and their derived products) and not based on the hierarchal model. More like Fedco Seeds, but not so much for gardeners and more of a completely worker owned enterprise rather than have a majority of owners be consumers.
Stage 3 – Create Gnu Life
As biology and technology are rapidly becoming intertwined in virtually every sector, there emerges a large need for open science. The idea of living things being patentable and life giving innovations being proprietary technology are threats to our sovereignty and wellbeing. With this in mind, the goal of the project to “Create Gnu Life” is to do research and development towards things that enhance life (that increase our allostasis).
We will create collaborative biotechnology centers that are free to the public and do not have the arbitrary and costly requirements of applying to, and maintaining in, a college or university. The aim is to use the apprenticeship approach and to have the apprentices eventually develop their own specialty and then iterate this open engineering approach in a new geographic area or new economic domain, using the platform and approach we have developed.
Potential Products –
- Using electricity to direct the growth of fungi or other organisms and, in so doing, create desired structures – essentially 3-D printing without the printer and with the potential
- Research into cooperative learning of microorganisms – the extent to which input from the environment can direct a group of microbes towards a food source if this input about the food source is abstracted from the actual locational information. This would be used as a first step in research into collective intelligence and have numerous applications.
- Using fungi/other organisms (ideally ones that use trash as a food source) as an alternative building material