- 3 weeks ago
I don’t care whether it’s ello or sgrouples or FriendFace or app.net or whatever, I am not joining another walled-in social network owned by a single organization. I already have enough of those.
Remember, Facebook used to be ad-free, somewhat closed, had no data mining, and didn’t force you to sign up with your real name. Then they decided they had to make money, and their only resource was a captive user base.
Twitter used to be ad-free with no data mining, and it used to be open so anyone could write clients for it. Then they decided they had to make money, and that meant making sure clients showed ads properly, and that meant locking out your favorite Twitter client and showing you posts that nobody had retweeted.
Go back even further into the past, and LiveJournal used to be run by a small team of people who were directly engaged with their user base. Then they sold out to a company who didn’t care, who sold out to a Russian company who were in it for the money.
Make no mistake, this cycle will repeat itself with ello and all the other closed-off single-provider social networks. …
- 1 month ago
"The emergence of these courts is important in that it’s at least an independent power that acts to limit the state and challenges the idea that the state is the final arbiter of our liberties and rights within its borders. The state here is faced with the awkward situation of being the defendant rather the accuser in a court that holds them up to the standard of actually respecting the rights they vowed to uphold."
- 1 month ago
Today’s internet is ruled by algorithms. These mathematical creations determine what you see in your Facebook feed, what movies Netflix recommends to you, and what ads you see in your Gmail. Engineers at companies like Facebook and Google spend huge amounts of time developing new algorithms—and tweaking old ones. Yet some academic computer science researchers spend years developing algorithms that are seldom seen outside of academia—even if they could be of great use to engineers in the private sector.
Diego Oppenheimer was all too aware of this as a program manager at Microsoft, where he helped design data analysis features for tools such as Excel and Power Pivot. He was always searching for better algorithms to integrate into these applications, and often found the answers he needed at Microsoft Research, the company’s blue-sky research division. “I would find that people had been working on these algorithms for years, but we’d never heard of them,” he says.
Meanwhile, Oppenheimer’s college friend Kenny Daniel was working on his PhD in artificial intelligence at the University of Southern California. He had published multiple algorithms that were well received by academics, but had little chance of making their way into real-world applications. So the two of them teamed up to solve their mutual problem. Their answer is Algorithmia, which is essentially an “app store” for algorithms. …
- 3 months ago
Johann Gevers is Co-Founder and CEO of Monetas in Zug. Monetas is building the world’s first universal transaction platform—an essential infrastructure for the society of the future. Johann’s lifelong driving passion is to help create a better life and world for everyone, through personal, organizational, and social transformation. It has inspired him to develop a pioneering new legal system for a free society, based on a new Golden Rule. His thirty-year journey searching for better methods and tools—and for freedom and joy for humanity—has profoundly enriched his and others’ lives.
- 6 months ago
Beyond Bitcoin: Crypto-Ownership Companies Hope You're Ready To Decentralize Everything On The Internet
Welcome to the age of crypto-ownership, where any kind of data can be encrypted and managed by a decentralized network of computers.
David Irvine lives in a tiny beach town called Troon on the West Coast of Scotland. He describes it as a place where old people go to retire, with a population of 15,000, a thriving golf community and views of the cliffs of Ireland on a clear day. It’s a surprising place from which to launch a product that he hopes will transform the way the Internet works.
Irvine is a mechanical engineer who taught himself about computers when he “realized they would be big.” He went on to manage oil company Saudi Aramco’s computer network before founding his own network consulting company, Alba, in the UK. After realizing that “the way the Internet is designed is insane,” he unplugged and started sailing, eventually becoming a yachtmaster who would pick up newly bought boats, say in the south of France, and sail them home to their owners in the UK. In 2006, he moved to a place where no English was spoken (so he could concentrate) to write the white paper for “MaidSafe“: a network for crypto-ownership and storage that does for data what Bitcoin does for value. Over the last eight years, he’s gotten $5 million in funding from family and friends to hire 14 people and try to make his product a reality. This month, the company is doing its first public funding round. Highly non-traditional, it plans to raise funds by issuing “Safecoins” on a cryptocurrency protocol calledMastercoin, which itself is built on top of Bitcoin. …
- 7 months ago
Lynn Stuart Parramore recently wrote an Alternet article titled “3 Things That Make Libertarian Heads Explode“. She identifies three areas where our heads will supposedly explode. They are inequality, public goods, and regulation. She evidences no awareness of the existence of left-wing market anarchists or any other type of libertarian leftist. In her world, the only libertarians that exist are the Reason Magazine or right-wing variety. In the first part of my series, I will discuss her contention about cronyism:
When forced to deal with inequality, libertarians often talk about cronyism, something they insist would not happen in their free-market utopia. Cronyism, they insist, is all about government favors, forgetting that cronyism is rampant between various market players. What do you call it when corporate CEOs collude with their boards to award themselves outrageous salaries? If you are an English speaker, you call it “cronyism.” When the owner of a bank colludes with other bank owners to do things like interfere with prices or squash competition, that’s also a form of cronyism. For some strange reason, libertarians seem to think cronyism is just something businesses do with governments.
Non-governmentally enforced cartelization has a tendency to be more unstable due to the fact that it’s in the interest of competitors to break agreements. Gabriel Kolko has documented how regulatory measures were backed by big business for the purposes of cartelizing industries. Cronyism can occur without government, but the presence of government allows the use of coercive force to maintain it. The competitive pressure from markets far from a “freed” ideal were decentralizing economic power and wealth. This was occurring before the Progressive Era regulations were introduced. As Gabriel Kolko writes, the trend of the last decades of the 19th century and the first two of the 20th was:
toward growing competition. Competition was unacceptable to many key business and financial leaders, and the merger movement was to a large extent a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful business efforts to bring irresistible trends under control. … As new competitors sprang up, and as economic power was diffused throughout an expanding nation, it became apparent to many important businessmen that only the national government could [control and stabilize] the economy. … Ironically, contrary to the consensus of historians, it was not the existence of monopoly which caused the federal government to intervene in the economy, but the lack of it.
Regulations contribute to inequality by creating barriers to marketplace entry. The larger corporations can easily afford to meet the costs of regulations while the less capital intensive businesses cannot. This leads to the further concentration of wealth and an economy dominated by corporatist business enterprise. Inequality is also inherent in the relationship between regulator and regulated. All may be formally equal before the law, but there is clearly a relationship of command and control. This kind of inequality is often overlooked by left-wing statists.
- 7 months ago
Across the planet, new technologies and business models are decentralizing power and placing it in the hands of communities and individuals.
"We are seeing technology-driven networks replacing bureacratically-driven hierarchies," says VC and futurist Fred Wilson, speaking on what to expect in the next ten years. View the entire 25-minute video below (it’s worth it!) and then check out the 21 innovations below. …
- 11 months ago
"So just what does this mean for us adjuncts who love to teach? Simply put, education is in the beginning phase of an evolution. With information technology, harnessed by the public, a more decentralized society is on the way – liberty is winning, naturally. Our libertarian society will of course emphasize education. Human beings long for creative labor; it is a biological universal. No longer will education be a tool to prepare us for the workplace. Education will become the life-long pursuit of our interests and creative ingenuity. We are programmed with curiosity and the desire to learn and communicate. Public consensus will naturally cultivate a new academic culture and those who aspire to teach will be in demand."
- 2 years ago
From the comments: “Also, Scotland’s leaders have said they wouldn’t allow nuclear arms on independent Scottish soil. The UK’s nuclear submarine fleet is currently based in Scotland.”