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Electric Barons (2018) [pdf] (cryptome.org)
21 points by state 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments



I don’t know who the author is, but appreciate the pseudonym’s nod to HG Wells, so excuse me if any of this is already known to the author.

There are some interesting ideas in this draft, but it won’t work as a paper, in my opinion, until it enters into the wider intellectual conversation on these issues—there’s been plenty of exploration of this theme prior to San Fransisco’s current dire straits. For example, check out Langdon Winner’s peice, Do Artifacts have Politics which examines some of Robert Moses’s infrastructural projects in NYC and their rather direct political and social consequences. Obviously, that’s a bit different than the main thrust of the argument which has to do with servers and decentralization of computing power, but in general, exploring and subsequently citing works from the traditions of the philosophy of technology, history of technology, and social and political philosophy will help support the arguments in this essay, frame them within the context of prior human thought on the problems and concepts, and help fix vague and contentious use of terminology such as “ideology” with more specific, domain motivated contents. Since it’s a draft this point is less important, but the peice could also use a solid copy-edit.

Overall though, I’m very happy to see people are out there contemplating this stuff, and it’s an interesting topic.


I think you missed the point here. There is a straight line narrative of (a) architectures of control and regulation; (b) informational asymmetry between the public and intelligence agencies ["Germans", "1973"]; (c) reflection on the possibilities afforded by software vs hardware cypher systems; (d) and a critique of the du jour insistence of the "experts" against rolling one's own cyphers.

> help fix vague and contentious use of terminology such as “ideology” with more specific, domain motivated contents.

It makes zero difference what is the "ideology" of the said barons. The point is that the infrastructure of control is being placed and whatever that ideology is, it is not 'representative' of the rest of us who have no choice but to use those "artifacts".




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