Makers: the New Explorers of the Universe

Originally posted on MAKE:

“[In] the last century, discovery was basically finding things. And in this century, discovery is basically making things.”

So explained Stewart Brand at the TED conference this past February. He was referring to the National Geographic Society’s rationale for hosting the first-ever meeting on de-extinction — a gathering of scientists and engineers who are using biotechnology to bring back extinct species.

His statement is a bold idea: the future of discovery is about making. In the context of Brand’s talk, however, the message was quickly overshadowed by the even bolder idea that we are close to reviving extinct species. But the “making” statement is worth unpacking. Is it true? What does that mean for discovery? What does that mean for makers?

True discovery — the kind that pushes the species forward — doesn’t get mentioned much in popular culture, or even maker conversations, for that matter. It’s a feature on…

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