(I created a Wikipedia article from this post.)

Check out this MSNBC profile on Intellectual Ventures, a company created by Microsoft alumni Nathan Myhrvold with a bold new business plan: create a marketplace for intellectual property. Rather than produce any material good, the company does nothing but buy up patents and lease them to the highest bidder.

This development is significant because I believe that intellectual property trading will become, in one form or another, the primary business of the 21st century, and ultimately the final stage of mankind’s technological evolution. While material goods will remain valuable as long as human beings depend on material values for their survival, the primary trend of technological development is the substitution of physical labor for mental labor. More >