[ExI] Wired: The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society IsComing Online

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Thu May 28 07:21:14 UTC 2009

2009/5/28 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
>> ...On Behalf Of Emlyn
>> ...
>> In the late '90s, activist, provocateur, and aging hippy John
>> Barlow began calling this drift, somewhat tongue in cheek,
>> "dot-communism."
>> He defined it as a "workforce composed entirely of free
>> agents," a decentralized gift or barter economy where there
>> is no property and where technological architecture defines
>> the political space... Emlyn
> Thanks Emlyn, this is an extremely good article, very thought provoking,
> affirming and dynamic optimism producing.  This online dot communism is one
> in which we are all voluntarily contributing the fruits of our brains'
> labors, and everything is in the ideal form of communism: where
> participation is completely voluntary.  It's too bad the matter world hasn't
> anything equivalent.  A commune isn't equivalent, for outside raiders may
> come in and remove the fruits of the collective labor.  Cuba isn't
> equivalent, because the participants are not free to leave.
> spike

Something interesting to me about this is that there is a possible
dystopia where we have cheaper and cheaper production requiring less
and less from individuals, but rather than making us all richer, it
makes a few extraordinarily wealthy and leaves the rest worse off.
Nano-santa can be that way if it can be kept closed and proprietary.

Yet we see a model of how we can avoid that in the info world. Or
maybe, we see that we wont have to avoid that, that it'll just turn
out ok, like information trending toward free is turning out ok.

I guess what I think we are seeing is how we can and do spontaneously
reorganise when the rules of the game change significantly; ie: when
some things become practically free. (Information is of course not
free in a dollars sense; all this stuff we do online costs money and
can be given an Ax + B cost equation, but it's close enough. We don't
have to get to free, just close enough to reach out and touch it.)

I don't think we can use the world of information as a direct analogy
for the world of matter though. Information is this interesting
special case, that as more and more enters the free realm, there is
more to draw on to make even more things free, and the "collective"
gets smarter about how it will do better what it is already doing
(because we are in the information domain), so it further optimises,
grows, gets smarter, rinse wash repeat.

You know, on re-reading that, it feels very similar to self-improving
AI takeoff. I think we're becoming the borg. For anyone who ever
wondered why the borg would ever head off down the road they did,
apparently it's because it is really very cool and fun.

But meandering back to Spike's comment, maybe this stuff is possible
in the physical world? After all, in the digital world nothing is
actually free.   None of the free copies in the digital world are
free, they are only very cheap, cheap enough that we all agree to
treat them as free. In fact, we all tend to bear the costs of our own
copying, more or less (which is what; net access and cost of media
like hard drives? etc). If we could bring the cost of bricks and
mortar stuff to where instances, or copies, were that cheap, we just
might see similar behaviours.

I feel like we don't talk about this changing social organization
enough on list. As Spike notes, this is the stuff of dynamic optimism,
surely! It looks to me like the leading slope of the singularity, one
based on intelligence augmentation and borginization. The progression
must be roughly, this communal improvement loop continues and
accelerates, at some point we begin as individuals to augment for
closer connection to the group (always on, less latency, higher
bandwidth information processing abilities, entirely new social
communication channels), this all continues in a giant feedback loop
until what?


http://emlyntech.wordpress.com - coding related
http://point7.wordpress.com - ranting
http://emlynoregan.com - main site

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