RIP John Perry Barlow – On the right to free information

Sadly, John Perry Barlow, the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation has died today. He was – to me – a huge inspiration for the internet anarchy and the cyberlibertarian movement I support.

His vision of the internet was to create

a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

As a tribute to Barlow, I would like to provide a summary of his speech on The Right To Know at TEDx Marin.

  1. The first time Barlow got online, he thought the internet would create the collective organism of mind.
  2. He believed that one day everyone on the planet would be endowed with the right to say whatever they want to say within their hearts, and nobody would be in the position to shut them up. In addition, everybody would have the right to not listen to what was said or written on the internet.
  3. The internet was going to be the great challenger of dogmatism.
  4. Having founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation in July 1990, he spent many years thinking about the intersection between Cyberspace and the physical world.
  5. All the existing power relations in the physical are being renegotiated in Cyberspace.
  6. We are now at the point where the physical world is starting to become terrified of Cyberspace. This is obviously shown by how governments deal with Wikileaks and the Arab awakening.
  7. Cyberspace has provided the bloggers, and journalists of Wikileaks and the Arab awakening with the opportunity to question the political structure. They knew that their real power was the ability to speak, and to be heard.
  8. They also understood that they had the right to know.
  9. If we play our cards right, the internet will make it possible for everybody on the internet to satisfy his curiosity to the fullest extent that is presently known by our species. Everyone interested, can know what is presently known.
  10. Nothing like this has had ever happened before.
  11. To achieve that, we have to realize that we cannot own free speech.
  12. Copyright is the wrong model for monetizing the expression of the mind. Thought is not a thing, … it is an action. The more a thought is heard and understood, the more powerful it becomes. It’s not like physical goods.
  13. Because of the old model of thinking of expression as a thing that must be regulated towards scarcity, there are many things going on right now that are militating against Freedom of expression.
  14. Comcast, yesterday, stopped all of our access to PirateBay. PirateBay is a notorious copyright infringement site, but is also an important cause with different members from European parliaments.
  15. The other thing is that the Freedom of expression necessarily includes tolerance to the other person’s right to speak up his mind. No matter how abominable his ideas may be.
  16. The answer to hate speech is love speech, and the answer of the speech you can’t stand is the speech of your own heart. Go out there and stop those who will try to own Freedom of expression.
  17. Take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Jed McCaleb and the race for cryptocurrency dominance

This is a nice article about Jed McCaleb, a genius software developer who founded the filesharing service eDonkey, the bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, Ripple, and Stellar.

“There’s an epic battle for the future of money, and the outcome is murky…

The coining of digital money (“cryptocurrency”) has the potential to be the most important financial development of this century. On one side are governments, fiat currencies and the world banking industry. On the other side are hundreds of young companies backed by brilliant cryptographers, complex programming and security protocols and varying degrees of anti-establishment fervor…

This article focuses on two of those cryptocurrencies, Ripple and Stellar. They share a city (San Francisco), a founder (Jed McCaleb) and a lot of bad blood.”

Also, watch this interview with Jed McCaleb in which he discusses the differences between Ripple, Stellar, and other things within the crypto-space:


Joe Quirk on Seasteading (podcast)

Listen to Joe Quirk’s great interview on Seasteading.

Is this the future of mankind? Is Seasteading the answer to all of humanity’s most pressing challenges?

As we battle to hold duopoly governments to account, reverse the damage of climate change, reduce inequality, and provide health care to the disadvantaged – perhaps it’s time to accept that our old system is broken beyond repair.

Rather than try to fix the irredeemable, it might be time to try something new.

Seasteaders are convinced that their vision will provide the innovative platform to launch the civilisations of the future – and my guest in this episode makes a pretty good case.

Joe Quirk is an author and Seavangelist at The Seasteading Institute. His enthusiasm will infect you and leave you with fresh hope for the future of humanity.

Seasteading promises to restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick and liberate humanity from politicians.

Lessons Learned

Here’s what I took from the episode:

Why Seasteading?

Seasteading solves two of the world’s biggest problems at once:

  1. Sea level change
  2. The lack of innovation in governance

The Basics

Seasteading = Politically independent cities that float on the ocean

Start up countries on the blue frontier

Half the world’s surface is unclaimed by any country

Seasteading brings a Silicon valley sensibility to the problem of Governments not innovating

The Seasteading Institute has already found that if they provide the opportunity for innovators to contribute to a nano-nation, innovators will come along with their own brilliant niche ideas

Innovators are held back by 20th century regulations

The Seated Institute takes no position on what type of society should be formed – they are providing the technology for others to decide

The vision is that people will join and leave seated communities voluntarily – Seasteads compete to attract = best societies emerge

French Polynesia sees itself as the blue frontier:

’We’re going to draw a new world map with FP as the centre of the aquatic age’.

Pacific nations sinking below sea level – easily transition to floating nations.

When will this happen?

Before 2020 there’ll be the first seastead civilisation established on French Polynesia.

The seasteading phenomena will start as the coastal expansion of exisiting states.

Joe thinks that our children will be living on floating cities. They will look back at our way of life, the way we lived under the rule of a monopoly government, and shake their heads.

Build it and they will come

The Seastead Institute has found that putting this idea out there, talking and getting excited about this new model of civilisation, innovators have come to them. They have been inundated with a range of thinkers and problem solvers – all wanting to be part of the movement.

‘I’ve been astounded by the solutions that people bring to this movement’

‘So many of the problems that we get frustrated about on land are based on the problem of monopoly of governance that doesn’t allow the network effects of solutions that can work together’