It’s time for another (quick) Umlaut rave. There’s no getting around it after reading this, then following the back-link to this, and being reminded somehow that this comparatively obscure online magazine has somehow rounded up two of the half-dozen or less people in the world who really get what Bitcoin is going to do to this planet. (I’d say “two-and-a-half” — but with no disrespect to Adam Gurri, his soul just isn’t in it, which is to say: terminally distributed.)

After reading this stuff, it’s easy to think that the only meaningful role for anything else on the right is to run interference while ‘Bitcoin’ (i.e. a-centric digital crypto-commerce) consummates the destiny of capitalism. The intelligence gulf between the emerging Bitcoin machinery and legacy political controversy now yawns so abysmally that inherited conceptions of ‘activism’ have become low comedy. Poke at Bitcoin with a political stick and it slithers sideways while turning more feral — the ‘instinct’ for that is already locked in. The confused idiots who are trying to manage human societies today will almost certainly make it into a monster. Since I don’t like them very much, it doesn’t upset me to see it stealthing into the shadows, with venomous claws emerging. It will be darkly amusing to see it coming at them out of Hell.

April 8, 2014admin 46 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Commerce , Technology


46 Responses to this entry

  • Mark Warburton Says:

    I normally hate link heavy articles, but Castillo has a way of branching out useful tit-bits for sure. Nick, what is the go-to piece on Bitcoin’s relevance – apart from the obvious one? You should get something up in your ‘resources’ as a response.


    admin Reply:

    The three linked here, plus the Eli Dourado … it’s the Internet of Money piece (meta-linked) are the four best BTC overview articles I know. (I’m going to put together a Bitcoin reference page over at my UF 2.1 blog.)


    Posted on April 8th, 2014 at 4:47 pm Reply | Quote
  • Piano Says:

    Admin, do you have a take on Ethereum vs Urbit vs whatever re: distributed cloud everything?


    admin Reply:

    More research needed before I try spouting off about that. I’ll try to do something soonish to provoke a discussion (which should help to educate me of the topic).

    Do you have any relevant thoughts that you can pluck off the shelf right now?


    Piano Reply:

    Different starting points, probably identical endpoints save the philosophical foundations. It’s a Turing-complete bitcoin vs an esoteric NRx reddit vs a monitized meshnet vs other things. They’re all gonna solve the same problems in different ways and fracture the internet (if they don’t somehow cooperate), so you’ll probably need to decide what team you’re on in three-ish years.


    Posted on April 8th, 2014 at 5:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • Adam Gurri Says:

    No disrespect taken, in fact, you’re too kind—it’s not so much that my heart isn’t in it as that I’m outclassed 🙂

    By the way, another fun one is off-Umlaut at Eli’s personal blog: http://elidourado.com/blog/bitcoin-arbitration/

    It’s all about Multisignature transactions. My favorite bit:

    “What excites me most about the decentralized arbitration afforded by multisignature transactions is that it could be the beginnings of a Common Law for the Internet. The plain, ordinary Common Law developed as the result of competing courts that issued opinions basically as advertisements of how fair and impartial they were. We could see something similar with Bitcoin arbitration. If arbitrators sign their transactions with links to and a cryptographic hash of a PDF that explains why they ruled as they did, we could see real competition in the articulation of rules. Over time, some of these articulations could come to be widely accepted and form a body of Bitcoin precedent. I look forward to reading the subsequent Restatements.”


    Posted on April 8th, 2014 at 7:28 pm Reply | Quote
  • Distributors | Reaction Times Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on April 8th, 2014 at 8:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stirner (@heresiologist) Says:

    I think that the notion of crypto-governance may be essential for putting the “Neo” in neoreaction. The experiment has been run, and Law and Constitutionalism only leads to the rule of Lawyers, Judges, and Bureaucrats.

    Etherereum and their concept of digital common law is a move in the right direction. But such an approach needs to be radically extended across the bureaucratic and administrative state. Moldbug talked about securing the state through crypto locks on weapons systems. That is an unworkable and unwieldy approach. However, simply by securing a single point of the State via a cryptosystem, you can basically secure control over all workings of the state. I am speaking of course of USG’s Treasury account.

    If expenditures MUST have cryptographic authorization, then you put coup plotters out of business. Imagine if the president of Ukraine still had the master control over the Ukrainian treasury. Since the day he fled, no checks would be going out, to the legislators, to the generals, etc. Why stage a coup if you only inherit an empty and useless treasury, and no ability to tap into the sovereign spending power of the state.

    On top of that, expand what is required for a legitimate expenditure. Currently we have Constitutional, Congressional, and Bureaucratic laws, rules, and guidelines, that “insure” legitimacy. Yeah, what a fucking joke that has turned out to be. So, to fix the problem, hardcode valid and invalid expenditures into the cryptosystem. “Congress may make no law regarding XXXX is hardcoded? Well when a new law is enacted, it has to properly compile on the system. Is is compliant with the hardcoded standards of the system? Yes , and the funds get released. No, and the bill is automatically rejected as unconstitutional.

    Citizens benefit from the system of law all the time, but their day to day lives are rarely directed impacted by the Law or the State. Bureaucrats, Government officials, Politicians, are in a different position. They are all sucking on the tit of USG. That is a large stick that can be used to keep them all in line. No proper budget for the US? No pay for you Senators, and you get your retirement benefits docked 1% for each week there is no legitimate Federal budget. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why. You work for USG, you play by the fucking algorithms.

    You don’t need an AI to make this work, just a very elaborate system of checks and balances, 3rd party verification, etc. Kick out borderline decisions to a randomly “jury” of citizens to make a ruling on the the issue at hand. That being said, if expert systems can learn to perform medical diagnoses, or compete on Jeopardy, it can be trained to figure out many of these issues on their own.

    Code instead of Law keeps the system pure and free from progressive contamination. Within appropriate bounds, many policy decisions can and should be left to leaders, managers, and even politicians (uggh). Still, the basic boundaries of the reach of the Federal State must be written in diamond sharp Code.

    This is how you create the patchwork: FEDGOV becomes an Operating System for governance. It doesn’t cheat. It doesn’t pay favorites. It cannot be bribed or influenced. It just works, and keeps working, and it lets the other patchwork entities do what they want to do, as long as they stay within their legitimate roles and bounds.

    This is how you sell Moldbug’s reboot. An open source, audit-able, and fully transparent Program, that validates the authority and legitimacy of FedGov at all levels. A bit-chain-of-command that keeps the government functioning in the appropriate manner, indefinitely. Set it up, test it, debug the shit out of it so you find many of the bugs in the system. Then you figure out various ways to hack and game the system using the various exploits that the political class have been using for centuries. Fix those bugs, and build in carefully controlled mechanisms for small-scale code addition, and future potential needs.

    That should easily take about 20 years to start from scratch and get out of beta mode. Once it is ready to ship, and everyone is confident in the outcome, flip the switch and give the program irrevocable authority over the bureaucracy and the treasury. We won’t have to cross our fingers at that point, or find the 21st century version of Frederick the Great to lead us. We will simply have stable, reliable, and predictable code controlling how the FEDGOV is allowed to operate.


    Piano Reply:

    @Stirner (@heresiologist)

    Do you support Urbit as a valid attempt at FEDGOV?


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    No, Urbit is it’s own thing. My interpretation of the documentation, chats, and analysis is that Urbit is mainly focused on rebooting the internet. An internet with trustworthy identities, distributed computing, and self-possession of your own data and processing.

    That is pretty damn ambitious, all on its own.

    But if you have such a network, then you can allocate stable digital identities to every politician, bureaucrat, and soldier. Control who and how those identities are allowed to play out their roles in meatspace, and you can start to control backchannel influence and corruption. Rights are for citizens, not for bureaucrats or politicians. If you want a slice of power, you have to submit to the demands and surveillance of the System. Leave your FEDGOV high position for a cushy lobbying job? Fine, but you face a 50% excise tax (ala Instapundit) on your increased pay for the next five years. No discretion. No looking the other way. Just identities, rules, and application of those rules.

    It would sort of suck to be an official or a bureaucrat, but isn’t that better than the alternative where they all strive to work and live in District 1?


    Piano Reply:

    Right, but…doesn’t it make a ton of sense to build the FEDGOV system ontop of Urbit rather than ontop of something else?

    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    Maybe? Urbit is just a toddler at this point. There is fully baked approaches out there that seem applicable: http://spark-2014.org/about

    admin Reply:

    @Stirner – A masterpiece.


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 12:48 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Sorry, pure fantasy.

    Now ask yourself will the Chinese for instance play by these rules?

    The Russians?


    “FEDGOV becomes an Operating System for governance. It doesn’t cheat. It doesn’t pay favorites. It cannot be bribed or influenced.”

    No? No influence whatsover?

    Unplug FEDGOV/BITPATCH etc or I’ll blow your fucking brains out.



    How about you? Ah, that’s better.

    Blow your brains out is nice compared to say the Russian practice of RTCA: recto thermal cryptographic analysis – a soldering iron to the rectum.

    BITCOIN will remain about where it is at best, an underground currency for black market goods and geeks slumming about the underworld. The Russians for instance could stop it tommorrow, or the Chinese. They don’t send the FBI. They send someone very different.


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    “Ahh, I see you have tried to unplug FEDGOV. FEDGOV secondary systems have detected the intrusion, and have responded according to The Program by suspending all interbank transfers in the US until FEDGOV is restored. Please comply immediately, and have a nice day.”


    Piano Reply:

    To make that work at all is clearly FAI-complete, so good luck and pray that MIRI doesn’t fuck up.


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    More of a Tool AI, if anything. It doesn’t have to make smart decisions, or good decisions, it just has to be able to parse whether a proposed course of action is in alignment with its rule set. That rule set being a rewritten and refactored approach to constitutional and administrative law. That’s an engineering problem, not trying to create AI.

    The main innovation in such a proposed course of action is to give such a program actual sovereignty and real power over meat-space.

    Would generals and diplomats be necessary? Absolutely. If working within the bounds of power allocated to them, they would have great leeway to command resources and establish policy.

    Cripes, this is called fantasy, and there are Nrx people who seriously propose a freaking monarchy in the US?

    The Law is centuries old. It is infinitely hackable by humans (and lawyers). We can do better.

    VXXC Reply:

    OK. Now who plugs all this in, and why does the 300 million in the US submit to it? Or the one billion in the greater USG west.

    Why the Hell is anyone going to accept automated law/governance?

    Look this is silly. Secondary systems override? Fine. We gotz muh bullets.

    We’ll cut off your money then. Will you? Really. How Heroic. We gotz enuf bullits for all dah heroes, and we canz make other money.

    This is an adolescent power fantasy and that’s all.

    No one ever took power without a great deal of trouble. Ever. Few ever fantasized that it’s even possible without blood and it’s never, ever happened. In a stable constitutional system for instance there was a lot of blood at setup and more required to maintain the system, any system. Ever.

    The King is bedrock sanity compared to this, but congratulations. NRxn managed to make itself silly and irrelevant within months of merely being considered. First they laughed, now their shaking their heads and touching the finger to the temple [nuts]. They don’t have to do anything but forget…who? No one can remember every Troll.

    Yes but meanwhile the master plan ticks on..…no, meanwhile tech fails every single character test – of strength and resolve – it’s presented. Eich for instance collapsed faster than Pax D. Accerationism indeed.

    This is coming across as a giant troll, although it had real potential. Ah but someone had a chat with people, now didn’t they? Wow. that was fast. I’ve had those chats and carry the marks from saying NO, I must tell those concerned you would have had not only more respect but safety from the NO then “being reasonable”. You might even find yourself improved from it as a person and in any group. People respect the fighter who sticks to his guns, principles, and so on. Including most importantly the opposition.

    Mind you the material is worth saving – I mean the Human Captial and energy generated. For regardless of whether we were ever born never mind wrote the pendulum has quite completed it’s swing to the Left of Pluto and already begun it’s swing Right. Nothing is inevitable ..however the pendulum is not only swinging Right it’s picking up speed. Not least because of frenetic and increasingly crazed energy expended by the Left to push the other way, which merely accrues to the basic energy of the Pendulum.

    Whoever does whatever will happen won’t do it by being clever in coding, there’s no reason for the rest of us to accept it. Oh and this system allows no mobility for young ambititous men. By the Way. If I were young and ambititous I’d destroy this entire scheme and everyone involved in it, if I had to destroy the very Alphabet itself.

    The solution to the Cathedral isn’t Silicon Valley 1984, or THX-1138.

    All men must walk their own paths, but the shirkers find themselves walking alone, the strong and the brave do not.


    RiverC Reply:

    “Not to worry, Dave. We’ve got our own crypto-currency.”

    By the way, the idea of an AI that becomes malevolent only after having its main system unplugged / destroyed – because in the process of bargaining with the perpetrators it threatens them in an attempt to get them not to unplug/destroy its main system and now must somehow continue on that course of action with a much lowered intelligence?

    “It was a friendly AI until it was stupid enough to take its own threats seriously.”


    Different T Reply:

    The “nerd” wrests the girl from the “thug” boyfriend without a confrontation that exposes the “nerds” weakness.

    Or, at worst, the “nerd” gets a slightly bloodied nose…. and the girl.


    admin Reply:

    Some responses to RTCA:
    (a) People are the weak link. They have sensitive rectal tissue and minds in panicked flight from pain. Cut them out of the loop.
    (b) These ape creatures are vicious brutes. It might be necessary to get rough with them.


    Handle Reply:

    When I someone hides my their money in the Caribbean Banking Centers, there is a nice duress clause (non-negotiable, the bank insists that it be put in every contract) about them refusing to transfer any money, even under your instruction as the only authorized agent for the account, if they have reason to believe your instruction has been produced under coercion.

    You know, like the coercion of a government without jurisdiction over the bank to pay your taxes or debt or alimony or what have you. The judge says pay, you record yourself telling your bank to transfer the money, but they just wont.

    Sometimes there is a whole ‘duress protocol’ which doesn’t just freeze your money but does … something with it. Who knows! Somehow a year later you’re living in penthouse in Monaco.

    Maybe in the future I have to not only biometrically authenticate but also hook my arm up to a polygraph device and before I can control my cryptocoins it asks me, ‘are you under duress?’ to mitigate the he RTCA / $5 wrench problem.


    VXXC Reply:


    Yes but you want to get rid of everybody to advance everyone.

    This sounds familiar. I’ve read for instance Han has long experience of same.

    I’m afraid it just doesn’t work for us, if it ever works at all.

    VXXC Reply:


    One should avoid the Carribean in terms of private banking.

    VXXC Reply:


    Yes but you want to get rid of everybody to advance everyone.

    This sounds familiar. I’ve read for instance Han has long experience of same.

    I’m afraid it just doesn’t work for us, if it ever works at all.


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 1:40 am Reply | Quote
  • Piano Says:


    You can’t have tool AI without full on AI. It’s just as hard.

    Long explanation: http://lesswrong.com/lw/cze/reply_to_holden_on_tool_ai/

    Good definition: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Tool_AI

    Taxonomy: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/FAI-complete

    More taxonomy: http://lesswrong.com/lw/any/a_taxonomy_of_oracle_ais/

    A bit more on why it’s hard to build a non-dangerous Tool or Oracle AI: http://lesswrong.com/lw/9lo/safe_questions_to_ask_an_oracle/

    Tl;dr: ball is still in MIRI’s court w.r.t implementation.


    admin Reply:

    @Piano – This is a truly critical jigsaw-puzzle piece, thanks. (It makes paper-clipper panic even more absurd – but that’s a topic for another occasion.)


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 2:24 am Reply | Quote
  • JPOutlook Says:

    I couldn’t read through the articles so overburdened with (pink?) hyperlinks. Still, it is nice to see optimism and the co-operation between Rightists on some degree, especially those looking for Exit. Thank you for writing…



    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 4:41 am Reply | Quote
  • Rorschach Romanov Says:

    In Neal Stephenson’s hyper fragmentized anarcho-capitalist (dys)utopia, (Snow Crash) as you may well know, the character Raven, donned with black leather and driving his motorcycle, pretty much roams with impunity- no one wants to upset him because he has an atomic bomb with him at all times, ready to reign fire if Raven should wish it so.

    Tattoo on his forehead: POOR IMPULSE CONTROL.

    FEDGOV strikes me as Raven, only with hyper impulse control.

    Methinks this is not particularly desirable.


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    The computational republic is the worst form of government, except for all the rest.

    One does not have to give FEDGOV a deadman switch on the banking system, but I only bring up the idea as a means to illustrate that it is possible in principle to give such a system some teeth.

    Neocamerialism literally abolishes the parliament or legislature, but only to place those functions in the hands of the executive. However, I am skeptical that this would lead to much in the way of meaningful change. Emperor NRx would still need to run their state through a large bureaucracy, and implement laws and regulations to create a stable foundation for commerce and society. If USG is arguably run by the bureaucrats in DC, the bureaucrats under Emperor NRx are going to still wind up running the joint eventually. Neoreactionaries need to consider that strong and effective leadership is not necessarily a solution to the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html

    The dilemma is that we want to live under a just and stable system of laws, yet it is that very same system of law that empowers bureaucratic takeover. If you simply change the leader at the top of the power structure, but still leave the same system of law and administration, the result is going to wind up the same.

    Traditionally the monarchs ruled by divine right, and in some sense were ultimately answerable to God for their decisions. In China, Emperors ruled under the mandate of heaven. Today, political leaders are answerable to the “will of the people” and we’ve all seen how well that has worked out.

    We accept computerized safety and control systems for nuclear ICBMs, nuclear reactors, airplanes, etc. Why not for government?

    For example, specify that FEDGOV budget will not exceed X% of GDP. Permitted exception is a formal declaration of war. During a formal declaration of war, no tax cuts or public benefit increases will be permitted. That creates all sorts of incentives to not use wars as a way to route around spending restrictions.

    There is a large fissure in NRx that has not gotten much play: the Patchwork and the Strong Sovereign model are largely incompatible. A strong sovereign is unlikely to be willing to delegate a tremendous amount of authority to the various Patchwork entities. But you still need an overarching Federal framework to make commerce, transport, and law enforcement actually work. Just because you can exit, doesn’t mean you get to hop jurisdictions and avoid a murder rap. So the patchwork needs an overarching framework of governance. One that has just enough power and authority, but is impeded from expanding that power and authority. One that all the various patchworks can count on for fair and honest treatment in the system. I think the answer to that is not a Who, but a What.


    VXXC Reply:

    Ah but you see wherever you are you’re in Whoville, and in Whoville it’s always who and what are merely what Who’s are competing over..or failing to compete surrendering. Water for instance will become supremely important the moment the taps don’t have it, after that food, after that heat..and so on. Money is several million if not billion years later. Money is 12,000 years old. In terms of WHO we really are that was the day before yesterday. We only started writing late yesterday afternoon [3,500 years ago]. In Whoville it’s never WHAT, but always WHO.

    Even a Supreme AI intelligence such as the one below has to make do with what it’s got..in this case a thirsty ape and a sun bleached femur. We’ve done pretty good with our femurs but only this morning, the thirsty ape we’re stuck with…

    For instance these fellows “get it right” and the others…don’t.


    Now if you ever had run out of water in a desert that makes this one look inviting you’d know within hours you have to KILL to get water or die [if you’re European like me, if you have run out of water like me, but fortunately the SAR bird found us. I must confess the highest ranking twit was going to “give” me his canteen first, justifiable under the circumcstances. It was his fault]. And I was a much nicer person then, mind you thirst…will..do….things.

    Look wise up or you won’t get any water, that’s a death sentence for us [europeans] within 2 days. We’re used to lots of it…then there’s food…etc. After that HEAT is usually an issue for us Ice People, combined with HUNGER we’ll eat whatever is available. Say…the person next to you.

    How do you think us Ice People made it thru the Ice Age?

    Notice that modern documented instances of Ice People Cannibalism always have the twin triggers of Cold and Hunger. Donner Party, Stalingrad both sides, Leningrad, Argentine Rugby players. Neither alone are enough, together=we gonna eat. Together being relative as to Who’s being invited to dinner.

    Now I’m taking it to the extreme with the examples, but not the absurd. Because this is WHO we are regardless of WHAT we want to think we are.

    Oh and again this FEDGOV system allows for absolutely no place for young and ambitious men to rise, in fact it automates the current mommy driven system that has given us a billion young [and worse educated] young men with no place to rise.

    In fact it pretty much automates the Cathedral without the bankruptcy, but there’s still no place for the young to make their mark. Other than whore, celebrity, porn star, school mass murderer, serial killer, or gossip about same [the media].

    FEDGOV and Bitcoin itself is simply another desperate flail by Boomers and the middle aged to escape the consequences of their decisions or far more their passivity in the face of rising evil and madness.

    It’s never WHAT and always WHO. Unless the WHAT is survival..and you will see WHO is WHO. Expect to be surprised especially by yourself.


    admin Reply:

    Computational Republic — superb (directional stimulus to future thoughts).


    Stirner (@heresiologist) Reply:

    As always, I think you need to look to history and the real world for models that work. You want a Patchwork? Switzerland has the closest model to a patchwork in the real world.

    So how does their patchwork actually work? Most of the heavy lifting of governance is carried out by the local cantons. That is where the ape politics occur, and different cantons reach different solutions to the matters at hand.

    At the Federal level….politics is rather boring. The president who reigns over the executive has no veto power. The Federal Judiciary only directs implementation of laws, it does not rule laws wholesale unconstitutional. Veto power is held by the public, and they can shoot down any moronic law their Parliament chooses to pass.

    Oh,and all the men have to do military service, and then serve in the national guard into their 40s. This does great things for national cohesion, and in fact managed to keep women’s suffrage at bay, Starship Troopers style, until the late 60’s or early 70’s. If you have a country with 4 frigging official languages, universal military service seems to be the glue that binds society together.

    The Swiss barely know who their president is, because all the guy does is ride herd over the federal bureaucracy. This is wonderful. How refreshing to have a political system where who the President is of no real importance.

    But we are not Swiss, so that is why we can’t have nice things. How do we cut the president and the Legislature down to size? Have them be at the mercy of the computational interpreters of the law, who will insure that the specs of the “Constitution” are followed by the letter. Limit the ability of the Crusaders and the sociopaths to use government as the platform of their aggrandizement. Slow the process of change so the political order evolves with patience and deliberation. Once the law is encoded, how much more do you need?. An annual update, or biennial. How about every 5 or 10 years, assuming that elements of FEDGOV are authorized to respond to conflict or disasters as specified.

    Law is a 500 year old technology. We have new platforms now. Law will not sit unchanging forever more. It can be replaced with something else. Something that will hard code the rules of governance into the workings of the Patchwork, and make it an entity that will behave completely predictably and fairly.

    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 8:06 am Reply | Quote
  • Erik Says:

    Outside view question – how come you’re blithely unconcerned about the lesswrong community’s AI worries, but think currency will be so devastating to the future, particularly when you use the phrase “intelligence gulf”?


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 1:25 pm Reply | Quote
  • peppermint Says:

    how can a group of people who believe that government is omnipotent turn around and believe that bitcoin is beyond the power of governments to control?

    Governments can print bitcoins by forcing people to run different software. Governments can suppress bitcoins as much as any other item by restricting trade.

    But the best part is that a pure bitcoin economy allows governments and everyone to know where every person spends every red cent. Every dildo, every marijuana cigarette, every prostitute, every cup of coffee, all in the blockchain.


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 4:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • Piano Says:


    You’re being dense. USG controls the USD money supply, that’s all we’re saying.

    You’d have to hard-fork bitcoin to change the 21mil limit.

    As long as cryptocurrency continues to grow in its ability to create a better financial industry, forcing bitcoin to remain undergroud would be suicide for any nation that chose to do so.

    Regarding your comment on anonymity, thats why we have things like Zerocoin being developed. Easy true anonymity is on the way. Chill and give it six months for Zerocash to vetted, then read the white paper(s), and then your dumb statements can be informed rather than uninformed.


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 6:18 pm Reply | Quote
  • MW Says:

    Re: that Dourado piece — the internet is epoch-making insofar as everyone’s on it, but it’s usefulness has not been sufficiently demonstrated, other than as a way for proles to kill time (for which I’m quite grateful). Information transfer peaked at the book.


    Posted on April 9th, 2014 at 7:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • Aeroguy Says:

    This Computational Republic, it could be ratcheted at the individual level. Like how the Constitution ratcheted control from the Articles of Confederation at the state level. There’s no need to sign on everybody to get it started, just a critical mass. If constructed as a patchwork this could even be done incrementally with some segments made immediately effective (like the agreed upon cryptocurrency). What worries me is that like cryptocurrency, there are near limitless permutations of protocol for computational government. Even in the case of a reset, the tech by itself may be seen as sufficient change and they make a demotist protocol. There is reassurance based on how slow the Cathedral has been to catching on with cryptocurrency, we’ll basically have the field to ourselves or a giant head start.


    Posted on April 10th, 2014 at 6:30 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “Law is a 500 year old technology we need an upgrade.”

    Tear down all fences and replace with software said the defenders of tradition.

    Law is older than 500 years, older than 5000 in fact. Probably at least 50,000. If not as old as the voicebox [400,000] and the band of hunters who would have had to have rules about spoils of the hunt, women, killing, stealing at a minimum.

    Flesh beats code. And will continue to, if Flesh is replaced a Machine will stand and say Steel beats Coding, and so on.


    Posted on April 10th, 2014 at 12:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Piano Says:


    What’s so untraditional about code slowly yet completely codifying existing law?


    VXXC Reply:


    Human Nature is what’s very traditional about my objections.

    May I ask why this hasn’t been done yet? We’ve had the ability to do so for decades.

    Codifying Law is indeed Traditional and also ancient, if the Who’s mean to govern the Whom Justly. And yet it’s not done here in USG Land. Hammnuburi, Alfred, Justinian, Napoleon all did it by hand..yet we don’t. It’s not can’t, it’s don’t, it’s won’t.

    In fact our Laws are so numerous that man and presumably his magnificent counting machines are unable to count – I mean merely know the number – of our Laws. They’ve tried 4 times since 1982, the last time was 2009. They just tried to count the felonies in 2009 and gave up at 5,428. The mere statutes are best guess more than 300,000.

    Cuz Power and Human nature dats why. Merely being technically feasible and indeed commonsense means…almost nothing. The almost is the only important part as it points out an interest by parties in having a legal system with more laws than can be counted. Power. Power distributed amongst so many that the lawmakers themselves can’t be counted that is to say administrative law since the New Deal, that is to say the Cathedral has many priests and this apparatus of yours takes away their power.

    You might consider a bit of a apology to poor Peppermint. His objections are well founded. Your use of “dumb” towards them isn’t.

    I will actually be amused if Bit/Shit/Zero money goes anywhere as the subject of money [the world’s out of it for years and is engaging in global bankruptcy settlement politics] is extremely sensitive. Any actual progress will summon not an angry but increasingly hungry Cthullu. He’s nasty enough on a well fed day..but a hungry Cthullu?

    I believe someone mentioned “hard-fork” would be necessary to Hijack BitCoin. Yes. A hard fork inserted in any part of a programmers anatomy should be sufficient, indeed the very sight of the fork should bring instant and groveling compliance.

    Or they could just threaten a villification campaign on twitter. Which seems to be sufficient to bring any level of groveling surrender and flight among the Titans of Tech.

    Now this is delusional, the issue is Power, the levers are Force and Gain.


    Piano Reply:

    “May I ask why this hasn’t been done yet? We’ve had the ability to do so for decades.”

    It is, slowly but surely as I said. (There’s a startup every other year that tries to do it, but gets too ambitious too soon.) It’s starting with just getting the law itself online and publicly available. Germany is doing the best job of that so far. It’s complicated, but inevitable and not impossible. Once it’s all online, we’ll feed it into a Watson doctor-turned-lawyer and ask it natural language questions, and then we’ll get slowly less haphazard and more official.

    Cryptocurrency is a financial weapon, and just like military robots, a country would have to be suicidal not to at least be buddies with a country that is highly invested in it.

    Yeah, “dumb” was harsh, more “short-sighted”.

    I mentioned the hard-fork thing. Kill all the programmers you want, as long as the miners are running (even the hidden ones on the other side of the world) the network has value and will survive at least as a black market enabler. And with Proof of Stake or Burn, there aren’t even any miners to find and destroy. The entire point of things like ethereum is to create a platform for distributed automated corporations that become more distributedTM and automatedTM every day.


    VXXC Reply:

    Yes well I’m not vested in killing the programmers, but people who’ve stolen $100 Trillion and have point spread bets on over $1000 Trillion are so vested.

    Make it work in Russia and I’m going to take it seriously; Challenge a serious State.

    All that needs to happen is for the Feds to show up and the ISPs can shut it in a few keystrokes. They assuredly will.

    You can put anything online including Law, enforcing it another matter.

    What is so desperately desired is a solution that somehow snakes power away from the snakes that have it: This is delusional and not going to happen. Power is conserved with those who have it unless it is taken away. Those who have it are insane, evil, and desperately in debt..trapped in the gravity of their own vices. However there’s good news they are also craven, cowards and in the West failed utterly the first step of tyranny [esp one dedicated to plunder and harm] of co-opting and cutting in their police and military. Both of whom especially in America but in the West in general – but esp Merica – made enemies of with endless nonsensical prosecutions, investigations and the rest. All the while stealing in the open and snarling and hissing at the police and soldiers.

    That’s the good news.

    The other good news is John Q has awoken and armed – arms race in fact.

    So there’s the good news and the bad news.

    But the idea that writing a few words means anything is folly and delusion.

    There’s no pudding without the blood, there are no proofs for this pudding as it does not and cannot exist.

    VXXC Reply:


    I’m going to emphasize this central point again: The Cathedral is caught in a global debt trap. They can’t back out of it, anyone who tried…well..perhaps they suddenly commit suicide? You can’t steal $100 T USD and back out. Esp when your mad hope of personal escape are the hundreds of $USD Trillions you’ve bet on derivatives.

    “people who’ve stolen $100 Trillion and have point spread bets on over $1000 Trillion are so vested.” — they’re vested in survival .

    If you don’t understand American politics [I have no idea who you are] then our politics in practice since Clinton has been the privitization of American National Finance in mutual capture. However the silent but not unknown partner at the table is: The Rus Mob. aka The Roof.

    That’s what the Rape of Russia did, it not only privatized finance&govt it criminalized them. Harvard, Wall Street, Finance, Treasury, and RU oligarchs all sitting down at the same table in the 90s.

    The Mob doesn’t go away ..ever…for instance that’s why in Cyprus and indeed over Ukraine no personal accounts were ever nationalized.

    These people can’t back down no matter what statutory exit you give them.

    Posted on April 10th, 2014 at 4:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Blogospheroid Says:


    Computational governance is actually one of the few things that I think can stabilise the mess that is India. I’ve thought on similar lines and like the idea (and your exposition of the same) very much.


    The key is Moldbug’s old term – Formalism.

    Formally, the republic is run for the benefit of the people. Atleast for the US, I could imagine the following. Let’s say that a democrat from silicon valley rises up and presents computational governance as the core of his platform. Unlike obamacare, this guy knows the development and has ideas on how the data structure will actually work. Someone with enough knowledge of the law to deflect the obvious barbs at him and realize when the critiques are too subtle to be understood by the public. His main campaign points are – what have you to hide? and stirner’s excellent sentence “Rights are for citizens, not for bureaucrats or politicians”.

    Incidentally, these ideas are not very dissimilar from what arch-progressive David Brin writes in his book, the transparent society. These are tools that can be used by either side, I guess.


    Posted on April 11th, 2014 at 9:35 am Reply | Quote
  • Piano Says:


    Bitcoin is already working well in Russia.

    Power is already “snaking” away.

    Software is eating the world and that will never stop.

    “All that needs to happen is for the Feds to show up and the ISPs can shut it in a few keystrokes. They assuredly will.”

    You’re going the way of Peppermint here. It’s really silly. Read up on meshnets and get it into your head that everything will be put into code and made increasing distributed and resilient .

    “But the idea that writing a few words means anything is folly and delusion. ”


    Regarding debt, bitcoin is getting derivatives, so portfolios will shift and that part of finance will be eaten in turn. The sooner bitcoin gets huge, the less dramatic of a “suicide” it’ll be.

    So the russian mob starts a Proof of Stake russiacoin, so what. Getting into cryptocurrencies doesn’t neccesarily mean relinquishing any control.


    Posted on April 11th, 2014 at 4:51 pm Reply | Quote

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