Fall Update / Podcast Idea
I’ve been having a lot of fun with this pseudonym in the 7 or 8 months I’ve been using it. Usually, my process with pseudonyms is that I build them up, slowly grow bored with them and finally abandon them. With this one, I want to maybe try committing to it for a while and eventually use it long term in some capacity.
In general, I don’t really know what I want to do with this site if anything. I don’t have any logs or analytics going on it whatsoever so I have absolutely no idea how much people are actually enjoying or reading these posts.
Outside of the context of this pseudonym, I’m just a random grad student working on various projects. My intent with this pseudonym was to give myself an outlet for random thoughts I’ve been considering that don’t fit in an academic context.
It feels like in academia there is very little opportunity to reflect on the intersection of philosophy or politics with the technical projects I work on. I rarely get much opportunity to discuss or talk about these sorts of speculative topics.
The only goal that I’ve found interesting lately is creating useful infrastructural projects and writing things that are hopefully thought-provoking. Ultimately I want to create things that people can find value in.
To this end outside of this blog, I’m seriously considering releasing some software and media under this pseudonym rather than my name. Specifically, right now, I’m thinking about experimenting with some random streams, recording a podcast, or something else audio related.
One thing I’m going to try is streaming conversations with Twitter weirdos, so if you are reading this and would be interested in trying something out read out to me and we can set something up. I am still trying to figure out what kind of setup I want to do so the first few of these might be a total disaster.
Anonymity has been a big factor in not working on media like this before in the past, but I feel like at this point I’m interested in trying it out in the short term just to see what happens.
There are no explicit goals I have in mind for streaming yet I’m just interested in kind of getting to know people on Twitter better and building up networks of commonality between people. So if you are interested at all let me know.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about a lack of conversation on current and prospective experiments in autonomous cyber-infrastructure. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, there was a wild upswell around autonomous experimental infrastructure online that mostly died out for several decades only to be revived recently by endless blockchain startups.
I believe that with what we currently have available technologically, it should be possible to create new forms of power dynamics within the world, and that specific concepts like cyber-sovereignty or other autonomous ideas are possible.
The quantity of people discussing autonomous infrastructure and how cryptography can be leveraged to enable specific political and philosophical ends is severely insufficient.
Any application of cryptographic protocols is actually extremely philosophical in nature but most people haven’t been treating it this way. There are thousands of random blockchain finance shows but all of these are incredibly shallow and focus on business aspects of the technology.
The fad neglects many of the more interesting aspects of sovereign cyber-infrastructure and only paints a trivial picture of one form these ideas can take.
There are a handful of great examples of interesting podcasts and shows filling this space. For a few examples I can point to, Cypherpunk Bitstream, Zero Knowledge, General Intellect Unit, Anarchast, Hooked on ~fonnyx, and some of the conferences put out by Parallel Polis.
Though some of these shows are of extremely high quality, they don’t really frame cypherpunk topics in the specific way that I want to see them discussed. As a podcast idea, I want to put forward a discussion on the theoretical and practical aspects of designing cyber-infrastructure for future models of autonomist decentralized cryptography.
Specifically, I’m interested in creating a space for conversations about what it would take to build out futuristic ideas on destituent power via technological means.
Topics that might come up on such a podcast would be mixnets, cryptographic protocols, offshore censorship-proof hosting, utilizing oceanic jurisdictions, blockchain tech, peer-to-peer networks, data havens, autonomous data feeds, decentralized autonomous orgs, smart contracts, as well as other topics related to experiments in autonomy and crypto-anarchy.
I don’t have any pretension that I am the best person to be doing this by a long shot or that I’m really very qualified to do this. I see myself as creating the content that I wish existed and that I am wholly unable to find for the most part. The lack of content in this sub-area motivates me, I’m starting the conversations I want to have.
The first thing I want to record are readings of several older cypherpunk conceptions of what cyber sovereignty is/was historically as a kind of retrospective. So to start out the podcast I’m going to do critical readings of some manifestos and older texts within the crypto-anarchist corpus.
After grounding the conversation firmly in how the idea has existed before, I want to start building into what is possible now and what kinds of conceptions people are currently striving and working toward.
I want to highlight the feelings that writers in the 90s had for the future of cryptographic infrastructure and attempt to transpose some of that energy into the present.
Guests and talks will revolve hopefully around showcasing experiments in autonomy that are currently taking place in both physical areas and in newly forming cyber communities. So many of these conversations on autonomy are only happening in private, the goal here is to shine some light on developing projects.
The main lack of enthusiasm for large-scale decentralized infrastructure is due to issues inherent to the topic. It is often expensive to run, difficult to work on, and most of it is bland sounding and doesn’t lend itself to being very flashy.
There is a lot of material discussing flamboyant small scale projects that are interesting from a user-facing perspective or sociologically but involve comparatively little discussion of underlying infrastructural experiments.
Discussions will be about the latest cryptographic infrastructural project designs and ideas that could be used to build out a new future that we desire. It will also revolve around political and philosophical theories surrounding these designs for an alternative future.