I am making the call: despite all the buzz it is currently getting due to crowdsourced funding for lots of projects, by wading into the anti-technology culture war, I am predicting the demise of Kickstarter.
The people behind Kickstarter have declared that they are going to artificially pick the winners and losers of crowd funding and once that happens, the road to ruin is sure to follow.
The issue that set tripped them up is genetic modification technology - a glowing arabidopsis plant. There is nothing harmful in that gene, there is no Frankenlight, other than in the warped imaginations of people who don't know any biology anyway. But Kickstarter still reacted to claims among anti-biology reactionaries that Glowing Plant was "genetic pollution" and changed their terms to cripple future projects similar to it. The problem is that by changing their terms to penalize genetic technology, the brains behind Kickstarter have told everyone not only how they vote, but that they are more interested in cultural fads than science and technology.
Credit and link: GlowingPlant.com
As Virginia Postrel at Time magazine puts it, "The truth is that the company has picked sides. Instead of maintaining a neutral forum or hiring enough staff to screen projects one by one, Kickstarter has chosen to pander to fearmongers. With its blanket prohibition, it has betrayed the technologists who embraced it, promoted it and accounted for some of its most successful and profitable projects. It may be happy to take their money, but it isn't comfortable with their kind."
Once your no-no list starts to grow-grow, you lose a whole lot of interest from people who take an ethical stand against authoritarianism - and that is a whole lot of techies. This issue is only superficially biological science. The bigger issue is that a knee-jerk, uninformed response brings together libertarian and classical liberal people in science and technology - and it opens the door for other crowdfunding companies who are not interested in social engineering.
I suspect IndieGogo couldn't be happier that Kickstarter has turned itself into a political football - they are in 'Frisco so there is an 85.1% chance they are also anti-biology, but here is hoping they are smart enough to keep it to themselves.
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