Re: Singularity: can't happen here

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Mon Sep 10 2001 - 04:30:05 MDT

On Mon, 10 Sep 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> As interesting and necessary as technical self-defense is, I believe
> the main battle must be fought in the realm of politics, ideas and
> cultural values. Some of us have never been part of large scale

Unfortunately, I have the impression that the majority is not Getting It,
and, further, has not interest in Starting Getting It. Geek activism as
e.g. demonstrated in the DMCA/Sklyarov case thus must necessarily remain a
flash in the pan.

There is no political basis for such activism. Ask around; I did in the
last days. I very much discourage coders and potential coders and
architects to join the rallies, but rather focus forces on their core area
of expertise: creating the infrastructure which will be extremely
difficult to screen for, censor and block. If the political activists will
be successful, there's no need in this. However, if they are not, it is
impossible to establish such an infrastructure overnight, especially under
draconic persecution and a witch hunt atmosphere. Hence, please allocate
your priorities according to your skill set.

> political action and protests. Some of us are old enough to have
> grown up in the Vietnam era and we learned a bit about these things.
> We who are of the aging baby boomer generation need to learn to
> protest and to demonstrate all over again side by side with our
> younger counterparts. We need to learn how to do it smarter than we

The age histogram shifts, and you will find many of the younger to be
preoccupied with other things, and hence largely unresponsive. As I said,
there is no political basis, nor is there an easy way to establish such. I
might be wrong, but there's little lost if I'm proven wrong, but plenty in
the opposite case.

> did back then and smarter than a lot of the protests of today. But we
> need just as much dedication and passion and just as much of a counter
> culture identity as in the sixties and seventies. And all of us,
> regardless of our ages, need to make our voices heard, heard now and
> heard LOUD. We need to become revolutionaries and to teach the world
> what this revolution is about, what we all stand to gain or lose, and
> how to fight for it. We need first to recognize it and dedicate to it
> ourselves. Or are we going to simply whine and dream up some gee-whiz
> garage "technological solution"?

Hey, the microcomputer revolution started out as garage operations. And
software piggybacking on existing infrastructure is a "technological
solution" that is mostly working, already. Just please start using the
darn things, okay?

I consider it is rather pathetic that there is no visible use of
cryptography and steganography amongst the Extropian and Transhumanist
communities, that there is not even a web of trust, and that open source
solutions are considered suspicious. I think this totally blows any claims
to technological leadership.</flame>

I strongy suggest a key generation and mutual signing session during the
next Extro conference. Similiar, ExI should publish an official statement
on current trends in IP. A thread of discussions should be allocated to

> It is easier to stop the State from going totalitarian in disasterous
> ways while you still have enough rights to organize and protest than
> it is to survive and manage to sneak by it once it has done so. You
> may think you are smart enough to escape or to to work around it.
> But how much pain, lost years and lost lives might you avoid if you
> used that wonderful brain to organize, oppose and protest now or at
> least support those who do?

Organisation skills are not coding skills. If you have political skills
and connections, use them. If not, put your other talents to good use.

> So what will it take? Memetic engineering yes. But also more active
> stuff that gives notice right now that we will not stand for the
> nonsense comming in SSSCA. We must go viral and flood the congress
> critters with mail and phone calls and infect everyone we can with the
> importance of doing likewise. We need marches and demonstrations in
> Washington and throughout the country as soon as we can organize them.

I don't expect SSSCA to pass. At least not at first. But, I would be
surprised not to see SSSCA implemented in spirit if not letter in most
industrialized countries.

> We needed them already for DMCA and its early victims but it is better
> late than never. We need lawyers and legal entanglements for bringing
> the IP police state policies down. We need legal protests and test
> cases, editorials, letter to editors. We need teach-ins. Can we reach
> a broad enough coalition to force the politicians to take notice? I
> don't know. But we must try in all ways that make sense to try.
> We must start asap. Preferably the protests should begin even
> before this gross legislative miscarriage is even officially a
> bill before Congress.

Good luck.

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBMTO : N48 10'07'' E011 33'53''
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