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Building an Opt-In Society

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the dreams-pipe-dreams-and-escaping-dystopia dept.

Encryption 182

An anonymous reader writes "In a talk at Y Combinator's startup school event, Stanford lecturer Balaji Srinivasan explained his vision for governing systems of the future. The idea is to find space to set up a new 'opt-in' society outside existing governments, and design it to take full advantage of technology to keep people in control of their own lives. That means embracing tech that subverts existing industries and rejecting regulation on new ways of doing things. '[N]ew industries are simultaneously disrupting existing ones while also exiting the system entirely, he says. With 3D printing, regulation is being turned into DRM. With quantified self, medicine is going mobile. With Bitcoin, capital control becomes packet filtering. All of these examples, Srinivasan says, are ways in which technology is allowing people to exit current systems like physical product production and distribution; personal health; and finance in favor of spaces of their own creation.' Srinivasan's ideas are a natural extension of a few proposals already in the works — Peter Thiel has been trying to build a small tech incubator city that floats in international waters, outside of government control. Elon Musk wants to have a Mars colony, and Larry Page has wished for a tech-centric Burning man that's free from government regulation. 'The best part is this,' Srinivasan said. 'The people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there.'"

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182 comments

Power abhors a vacuum. (4, Interesting)

devman (1163205) | about 9 months ago | (#45180785)

Power abhors a vacuum. There will always be a government analog (even if it just your local warlord) wherever you go as long as there are other people. This is also the reason why weakening governments simply allows corporate power grabs, I'm sure there are some who'd love to return to the days of the East India Trading Company private armies and all.

Re:Power abhors a vacuum. (0)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 9 months ago | (#45181449)

Aww, and here I was thinking that we had to have a perfect society. But no, I guess we have to throw in the towel and give up on even trying.

Re:Power abhors a vacuum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181525)

And people are not social animals, despite the evidence of thousands of years of people being social. And also the earth is infinite. And it's not a problem that only some tiny fraction of 1 percent of people will be able to sustain this vision of the future. Oh, and it's all about me me me me me and my autonomy. Can't we just fucking get along?

Re:Power abhors a vacuum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181871)

Not with assholes like you walking around.

Re:Power abhors a vacuum. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45182523)

The good news is that, once we're off this planet, most of those grand old sociopathic power dreams become impossible. There'll never be a Galactic Empire, because you can't boss people around when your orders take thousands of years to reach them. There will probably never even be a Solar Empire, because the odds are high that your 'private army' can't travel at more than 10% of the speed of light, and the Oort Cloud is far enough away for even that to be very hard to control.

no thanks (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#45180789)

As a resident of a prosperous northern-European country with working infrastructure, a working healthcare system, relatively low poverty and homelessness levels, and generally a decent civil society that we all pay our share towards, I'll take the universal welfare state over some kind of ridiculous experiment in anarcho-capitalism. That's about as likely to work as any other anarchist experiment has worked. I guess America can have fun with it, though.

Re:no thanks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180897)

I guess America can have fun with it, though.

Somalia is having fun with it right now. I don't think this is what even the craziest teabaggers want.
Fortunately with Obamacare, America is realizing that there needs to be some kind of social security. In the long run, there's no way around it if you want to keep exploiting people and keep them relatively peaceful at the same time.

Re: no thanks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180965)

I love it when someone mentions Somalia and gives entirely uninformed opinions. This gives me the opportunity to debunk your statement with a single link: http://www.peterleeson.com/better_off_stateless.pdf

Re: no thanks (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#45181023)

I love it when someone mentions Somalia and gives entirely uninformed opinions. This gives me the opportunity to debunk your statement with a single link: http://www.peterleeson.com/better_off_stateless.pdf [peterleeson.com]

2007. 2013 now and 1/3rd of somalians suffer from depression and the common cure is to chain them up.

Re: no thanks (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45181635)

2007. 2013 now and 1/3rd of somalians suffer from depression and the common cure is to chain them up.

A few things. First, no country on the planet has 1/3rd of its population suffering from depression. The highest year over year incidence rate has been reported at .8%, with a lifetime incidence of 8-10%, if you're unfortunate enough to be a woman in that country. And that country is not Somalia. Somalia rated 153 out of 192 this past year on per capita depression. You'll never guess who got number one [wikipedia.org] . And Somalia also rated pretty low on incarceration rates. Guess who got number one again [nationmaster.com] ?

How should I put my reply to your "debunk" as succinctly as possible.... AMEEEEERICA FUCK YA! I bet they're so jealous of all that freedom we got, eh? -_- Both of you are wrong; Both for "defending" the 3rd world, and for "attacking" it. Somalia is doing just fine; Worry about your own damn country.

Re: no thanks (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 9 months ago | (#45181683)

If Somalia is fine why are so many of them leaving?

Re: no thanks (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 9 months ago | (#45181711)

Then move to Somalia and stop trying to turn this country into it.

Re: no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182077)

a bit late, the USA is closer to somalia, than you may think:
bat-shit insane religious moral minority ruling
a corrupt-as-fuck political system
failing economy
falling standards of living
stratospheric (and rising) debt spent 'protecting your freedoms' witch actually erode them
the only way to be safe is to be armed better than everyone else
balloning social problems

etc, etc.

if you want to know america's future a cantonese dictionary might prove useful

*spoiler*
as Arcangel Gabriel said to John Constatine

"You're Fucked"
*/spoiler*

Re: no thanks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182229)

Thanks for that link. I despise "progressive" fools who trot out the "Somalia argument" as their rebuttal to Libertarianism. Whenever I see one of them write "Yah, why don't you move to Somalia! LOL", you immediately know you're dealing with a ignorant tool parroting something they read on ThinkProgress or the like.

Re: no thanks (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 9 months ago | (#45181055)

LMAO that's your argument? Because the Barre government were abusive scumbags the Somali people are better off under the warlords and Islamists? Funnily enough all the Somalis that have fled their country disagree.

Re: no thanks (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45181895)

I don't think fact and rational thought are major driving forces in this discussion.

Re: no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181111)

And the best part: Every day is talk like a pirate day in Somaliarrrrgh.

But seriously, you're as misguided as a communist in 1980 praising the USSR as a workers paradise. Ears closed, mouth open.

Re: no thanks (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 9 months ago | (#45181555)

"© 2007 Association for Comparative Economic Studies. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved" :)

Re:no thanks (0)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#45182539)

Fortunately with Obamacare, America is realizing that there needs to be some kind of social security. In the long run, there's no way around it if you want to keep exploiting people and keep them relatively peaceful at the same time.

You have to have a society in order to have social security. While some level of extravagant promises can be kept, these obligations just keep growing. For example, Obamacare's trade off is to offer cheap health insurance in exchange for the violation of law, degradation and grow in cost of health care, and a weakening of society. That's a terrible trade.

What's the point of social security if basic infrastructure stops working? I can live without a safety net better than I can live without clean water or law enforcement.

At some point, you have diminishing returns and I think the US well past that point.

Re:no thanks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181037)

In all likelihood, your "northern-European country" has low indigenous birthrates, which means you have more grandparents than grandchildren and you're importing labor to help pay those taxes that prop up your welfare state. In about 2-3 generations, your welfare state will be gone, and so will your entire culture. Probably replaced by something that doesn't hold the same values as you do today.

If you're looking for an investment, start a women's clothing store that carries burqas.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181129)

Yes, Northern European countries have low birthrates and new people joining from countries where burqas (or cowboy hats) are worn is a reality. It is equally easy to import just the product of that foreign labor in the same way that the local product is traded with other people from Europe and beyond. As long as the social security system is managed carefully (something that anti-socialism people dislike) it will be possible to funnel more or less funds towards "working infrastructure, a working healthcare system, relatively low poverty and homelessness levels, and generally a decent civil society". Perhaps the people who really dislike the "we all pay our share" bit should secede and go live according to the free market faith they preach so often. It would be more productive than spreading the rumors that social security is unsustainable and we should privatise everything under the sun. I've been hearing it for over 30 years.

Re:no thanks (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45181919)

where burqas (or cowboy hats) are worn is a reality.

Which country is supplying cowboy hat wearing low wage immigrant labor in Northern Europe?

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182393)

where burqas (or cowboy hats) are worn is a reality.

Which country is supplying cowboy hat wearing low wage immigrant labor in Northern Europe?

Haven't you heard about Polish Cowboy Hat?

Re:no thanks (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 9 months ago | (#45181199)

If you're looking for an investment, start a women's clothing store that carries burqas.

Immigration from Afghanistan and Pashto areas of Pakistan (the only places where burqas are commonly worn) to northern Europe is negligible.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181147)

As a resident of a prosperous northern-European country with working infrastructure, a working healthcare system, relatively low poverty and homelessness levels, and generally a decent civil society that we all pay our share towards, I'll take the universal welfare state over some kind of ridiculous experiment in anarcho-capitalism. That's about as likely to work as any other anarchist experiment has worked. I guess America can have fun with it, though.

If you're not going to tell us what country you're talking about I'm just going to call bullshit. Making vague claims of grandness while intentionally failing to provide specifics is simply a smokescreen to hide the fact you can't support your claims.

The fact of the matter is that most of Europe's "welfare States" have massive problems, and kicking out anybody who isn't the same skin color and religion is a bullshit method of dealing with poverty and homelessness. I have not seen a single country which claims prosperity like you do which is NOT essentially playing a "shell game" with your problems. You benefit from the economic and military strength of your neighbors, which are the only things that make your alleged Utopia even possible, and then try to pretend like it's something you've done all on your own.

Re:no thanks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181227)

The fact of the matter is that most of Europe's "welfare States" have massive problems, and kicking out anybody who isn't the same skin color and religion is a bullshit method of dealing with poverty and homelessness.

Can you please cite instances of when northern European countries, in the recent decades which have seen welfare states, have kicked people out on the grounds of them following a different religion?

You benefit from the economic ... strength of your neighbors, which are the only things that make your alleged Utopia even possible,

Finland chose not to join NATO during the Cold War and provide for its own defense, with the understanding that the West would not come to its defence in the event of invasion. It nonetheless managed to run a welfare state comparable to any of its Nordic neighbours.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182387)

You need to read more euro news. Anti-immigrant sentiment is a huge problem (and has been for years). Economies are suffering and the people are (in some sense, correctly) blaming the coupling of europe's open borders and free-for-all socialist benefits. Germany, England, Italy, France, Greece, Belgium, etc.. they're all facing variations on the same problem. They see their economy hurting, and they see hordes of [Muslim, Romani, Turkish, African ... name your favorite EU immigrant minority flavor of the month/subregion] sucking up the free welfare benefits, and that's where the blame goes. In some of these countries we're still in the early days: minor political support for "immigration reform", requiring more documentation and/or citizenship for benefits (which the immigrants won't be able to acquire reasonably), etc. In a few countries (notably France, Greece) things are already getting much earlier. Golden Dawn (Neo-Nazi party) is actually winning a significant chunk of the parliament elections over there. So yes, the EU welfare states are hurting, and yes, they're going after minorities/immigrants in an attempt to kick out the leeches on the system. It's not going to work, it's just going to create a huge underclass of homeless/poor immigrants who are still there.

This is basically "argumentum ad novitatem" (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 9 months ago | (#45181169)

...made into life-governing philosophy.
Everything new is great and should not be controlled or regulated.

I.e. Had human society chosen such a way of living 100 or so years ago we'd be having our rejuvenating dose of radium with our cornflakes every morning. [wikipedia.org]

Re: This is basically "argumentum ad novitatem" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182271)

You're trotting out that link, I suppose, to imply that a benevolent nanny-state is the only protection against quackery, but I think the market has a way of sorting such things out.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181197)

While I agree with your reservations, your countries economy is built of consumption and capitalism yes? Then it's doomed, Just like mine and everyone else s. It was the natural step to take as society changed. However, It's weakness and end game are now spelled out clearly for anyone how cares to look.

This form of social system is not maintainable and promotes the end our our species. I'm not seeing this other idea is better, but the general starting point is accurate. there are only two way to change this world. Slowly, or all at once.

The knuckle draggers that populate most of this planet can't deal with everything at once, so for now, starting small and allowing people to see the differences is the most effective thing on the table.

Re:no thanks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181243)

You're generally shielded from the burden of unskilled migration by your geographical location, shielded from invasion by your southern and eastern neighbors who recently joined NATO, you are far out enough in the periphery of world affairs to not attract the ire of regional powers, but near enough that everyone wants to woo you to their side. You have few people, yet have a claim to large swathes of ocean energy and mineral resources. While you have some exposure to the world and to racial diversity, you still remain one of the most ethnically homogeneous regions in the West, sparing you much of the social strife that other countries experience. Plus, most people have forgotten your country's contributions to murder, slavery, rape, and pillage, or they'd rather focus on someone else's.

Pretty comfortable place to be. Though, not quite a place from which to judge.

Re:no thanks (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#45181503)

You're generally shielded from the burden of unskilled migration by your geographical location, shielded from invasion by your southern and eastern neighbors who recently joined NATO, you are far out enough in the periphery of world affairs to not attract the ire of regional powers, but near enough that everyone wants to woo you to their side. You have few people, yet have a claim to large swathes of ocean energy and mineral resources. While you have some exposure to the world and to racial diversity, you still remain one of the most ethnically homogeneous regions in the West, sparing you much of the social strife that other countries experience. Plus, most people have forgotten your country's contributions to murder, slavery, rape, and pillage, or they'd rather focus on someone else's. Pretty comfortable place to be. Though, not quite a place from which to judge.

Quite a lot of fair points there, though I'd disagree on the last one. While the people who lived through WWII is quickly dwindling, we're very aware of our not-so-distant history when most of northern Europe was in flames and we considered ourselves all but ethnically homogeneous with über- and untermenschen. An awfully lot has happened since then though and we've probably done more to mend our wounds in the last 70 years than many other conflicts that have gone on for centuries. But I think I speak for most of Europe when I say we don't want to become a United States of Europe, the English want to be English, the French French, the Germans German and so on. We've found a peaceful way to coexist with "the other side" ceasing to exist and if it sounds a bit like we're saying "we did it, you can do it too" then that's probably true.

Re:no thanks (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45181873)

But I think I speak for most of Europe when I say we don't want to become a United States of Europe

So then what is the purpose of the EU? And why does it grow more and more powerful and centralized (e.g. the adoption of the euro) as time progresses?

Re:no thanks (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 9 months ago | (#45181441)

I agree that this sounds like a ridiculous experiment. Of course, it can work while shielded within another system guaranteeing the security of those within as they ponder their quantified selves and hope the power doesn't go out or the network down, leaving them without a form of payment, data to tell them to eat more or less of a certain food, or a machine to make stuff for them. On a grand scale, however, it sounds like a voluntary prison. I feel the same way about your universal welfare state. For the record, the problem with the United States' form of government is that we failed to run it as intended. We the people - the many - turned over power to the few, and they abused the hell out of it. At least Walmart can't force me to buy their products. Well, not yet.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181493)

As a citizen of a relatively, but not quite as properous EU country (Germany), I can see your point. However, there seems to be an amount of 'superfluous structure' and just corruption forming in any government of any larger size. And the E.U. as a whole seems to be very unstable now, as it is growing and growing and growing in unsustainable and crazy ways, and effective citizen oversight seems to be missing. Also, it looks like there is a certain amount of decadence now in a place like Sweden, and the immigration policies seem to be successfull at importing people but not such much as integrating them - as the narrative seems to be that any kind of expectations would be 'brutal'. Notwithstanding the fact that a civil war or general violence resulting from racial tensions will be even more brutal.
I do not know whether anarchy is the answer to any of this but it seems that Europe (and the west in general) lost its ability to renew itself. And I think this is because of a huge amount of -in the end- unsustainable structures and bureaucracies that form over time and are almost impossible to get rid of when they have outlived their purpose.
I think there is at least the need for a very strong decentralisation in the structure of European governments soon.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181665)

but... but... they can have guns! so much fun!

Pipe dreams (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180797)

The people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there.

Until you have something worth seizing.

Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180809)

Really? REALLY? What does that have to do with anything? 99.9% of the 3D printing I've seen is nothing more than performance art.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (2)

xtal (49134) | about 9 months ago | (#45180819)

Once you can print 3D metal cheap, that changes a lot of things.

Plastic, less so.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181049)

What does it change? Can you explain what happened in your life in the last year where you went "gee I wish I had a piece of metal to solve this problem" and you coudn't find the part already on eBay or simply solve your problem with mass-produced items ?

And tell me, you think most people out there have the materials science knowledge, the engineering skills and the patience to diddle around with this stuff?

And where does your metal come from in the first place? I know you probably think 3D printing is like a Star Trek replicator, but without a very large world-wide "luddite" infrastructure to supply you with raw materials, what are you going to do?

What will change politically and economically? It's nothing more than a hobby, and how many people do you know that have a fully-equipped CNC shop at home, and what did it change for them politically or economically?

Why doesn't everyone have a CNC shop at home then?

Human nature hasn't changed.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181119)

Guns.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181263)

No one has 3D printed anything remotely looking or behaving like a gun. But I like how you think guns have anything to do with this story: delightfully primitive!

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181361)

"These 'automobiles' of yours only run half as fast as a galloping horse, I know you probably think the horseless carriage is like a magic carpet, but without a large world-wide 'luddite' infrastructure to supply you with gasoline, what are you going to do? It's nothing more than a hobby, and how many people do you know that have a fully equipped mechanic shop at home?"

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181741)

Transportation is an immediately obvious and universal need.

"how many people do you know that have a fully equipped mechanic shop at home"

Exactly. Very few people do, so we have factories that build cars and garages that service them because most people don't or can't care.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 9 months ago | (#45181563)

And tell me, you think most people out there have the materials science knowledge, the engineering skills and the patience to diddle around with this stuff?

The main advantage of 3D printing is that it's significantly simpler and easier to use than CNC machines.

What will change politically and economically? It's nothing more than a hobby, and how many people do you know that have a fully-equipped CNC shop at home, and what did it change for them politically or economically?

So were personal computers in 1980s. As expertise requirements go down, adoption by the general public goes up.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181699)

"The main advantage of 3D printing is that it's significantly simpler and easier to use than CNC machines."

Can you show where a significantly cheaper and easier printer made something even remotely comparable to a CNC setup?

"So were personal computers in 1980s. As expertise requirements go down, adoption by the general public goes up."

Computers deal in information. Do you think maybe that's a specious comparison? How many people now own a 747?

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 9 months ago | (#45181725)

So were personal computers in 1980s.

They were? So that's how normal office secretaries were using them just fine?

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#45181785)

I doubt DIY metal working will ever come down to the prices of mass production, it'll be like how you could print our own book on your own ink printer but why would you do that? There's no money in it, it only matters the law says you can't have it. Which means guns and.... well, what's the rest really? Make my own knives, forks, spoons, door handles, belt buckles and so on? I think most people here too easily confuse the real world with the digital world where bits are perfectly duplicated at home with only fractions of a cent in electricity. If it exists at your local hardware store it'll be way cheaper to get it from there, just like Amazon can ship you any dead tree book you like for less than it costs to print it yourself. And if you want to talk self-sufficiency then depending on an advanced 3D printing robot manufacturer isn't really it.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45181907)

You could print your own books, but the materials would cost more than just buying it. 3D printing is likely to remove that particular rule for everyday items/tools, especially if you could 3D print steel and/or aluminum.

http://slashdot.org/story/13/08/01/0019259/study-finds-3d-printers-pay-for-themselves-in-under-a-year [slashdot.org]

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182149)

Whoah, a realist on slashdot? How did you keep your karma positive??? :)

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182513)

Books are a great example. You're right that it doesn't make sense to print out your own books for most people. Self publishers can use a host of print-on-demand services, though, that will do just that for them. 3D printing will be the same. You'll contract out to some company to print (and probably design) the items you need. It'll be reasonably expensive at first until mature libraries of pre-designed things are well established and then prices will drop.

Still, I don't see most people having one at home unless the prices and reliability drop to the point where, like traditional printers, where they are cheap enough to just replace rather than repair.

Honestly, while I want the use of a 3D printer, I don't really want to own one. Hell, when my last real printer died I just started using the Fed-Ex online printing thing for my limited printing needs (which are much larger than my 3D printing needs) and swing by to pick up my documents at my leisure. Well before we see a 3D printer 'in every home' we'll store's setting up where you can submit your design (or have them design for you) online and either just have them mail it to you or pick up the item when completed.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181065)

What else are you going to spend your bitcoin on other then 3D printed trash.

Re:Did they have to work 3D printing in there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181721)

maybe they thought the pizza printer would be perfected so they could dispense with the poor slobs who bake them and just sit their on their unregulated island heaven and say "computer, make me a thin curst with basil and anchovies."

only works at a small scale (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180827)

At small scales, when everybody is on board with it, this can work great.

But it only takes a few asshats to ruin it for everybody. The tragedy of the commons bites you in the ass.

It would be fantastic if it could scale, but it comes up against human nature, and loses.

opt-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180833)

So if you decide to opt-out, do they toss you overboard?

Re:opt-out? (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#45180935)

If the opt-in frontier societies of the American West are a precedent, there is no opt out. Once you're in the company town, you're there for your term of service.

combinatorial explosion (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 9 months ago | (#45180841)

So let's say there are N choices you can "opt-in" for. Does this mean there will be 2^N societies to choose from?

Re:combinatorial explosion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180943)

There only needs to be one society. You don't need to opt-in to everything or nothing of this society, that's the entire point.

Re:combinatorial explosion (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 9 months ago | (#45181117)

There only needs to be one society.

I'm not sure you used the word "needs" correctly.

Let's say I hate intellectual property, so I want to opt-in to a IP-free society. But, I'm afraid new biotech equipment (3d-printing of viruses) could destroy the world, so I would like to not opt-in to a 3d-printing-everything society. How is having one opt-in society going to help me?!?

Not so sure I buy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180851)

Regardless of whatever this guy says, as long as power systems exist that seek to provide the service structures we use, you'll still be using systems we keep trying to circumvent. It's a snake eating the tail situation.

No Bioshock reference yet? (1)

xarragon (944172) | about 9 months ago | (#45180863)

I am disappointed, why has none made a reference to Bioshock yet, seeing how a city at sea was mentioned?

The geek in Rapture. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 9 months ago | (#45181101)

I am disappointed, why has none made a reference to Bioshock yet, seeing how a city at sea was mentioned?

Irrational Games specializes in exquisitely crafted game worlds that brilliantly expose the flaws in the geek's anarchic-libertarian ideals --- which exist on the same plane as those of the Tea Party Republican.

As for myself, if I chose to make my home on an island, it would be Manhattan.

only works on the cattle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45180875)

People with money make more of it by opting you into programs which allow them to make more money from you or your information.

Refuse to do business with people who pull this shit. Have the courage to stand up for what is right despite what everyone else does.

i would like to opt-out (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 9 months ago | (#45180923)

With 3D printing, regulation is being turned into DRM. With quantified self, medicine is going mobile. With Bitcoin, capital control becomes packet filtering. All of these examples, Srinivasan says, are ways in which technology is allowing people to exit current systems like physical product production and distribution; personal health; and finance in favor of spaces of their own creation.
"The best part is this, the people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there," he said. "We need to run the experiment, to show what a society run by Silicon Valley looks like without affecting anyone who wants to live under the Paper Belt," he added, using the term "paper belt" to refer to the environments currently governed by pre-existing systems like the US government.

good luck with those opt-in surgeons.

just sayin

Re:i would like to opt-out (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 9 months ago | (#45180941)

good luck with those opt-in surgeons.

robotic surgeons could do a better job then any human if they would only let us develop the technology!

Re:i would like to opt-out (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 9 months ago | (#45180949)

good luck with those opt-in surgeons.

robotic surgeons could do a better job then any human if they would only let us develop the technology!

and what exactly is stopping you?

Re:i would like to opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181015)

This is the worst troll ever. And yet I'm fairly sure it will have at least some success. So I've changed my mind. Nice troll!

Re:i would like to opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181035)

and what exactly is stopping you?

My multiple-personalities disorder.

Re:i would like to opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181445)

see your friendly neighborhood robotic surgeon to have your extra personalities amputated today! no appointment needed

Re:i would like to opt-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182131)

try something easier: grow a brain cell in a congressman

Wall-builders (1)

macraig (621737) | about 9 months ago | (#45180947)

'The best part is this,' Srinivasan said. 'The people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there.'"

Nope, instead they'll be the ones who build a thick high wall around your new "space" to make sure you stay put and don't infect everything outside of it. Your space will become a prison like Waco, Texas, etc. Eventually they'll decide to reclaim the space you Occupy, and then it's game-over.

Re:Wall-builders (1)

geirlk (171706) | about 9 months ago | (#45181097)

Nope, instead they'll be the ones who build a thick high wall around your new "space" to make sure you stay put and don't infect everything outside of it. Your space will become a prison like Waco, Texas, etc. Eventually they'll decide to reclaim the space you Occupy, and then it's game-over.

If your society doesn't manage to snuff itself out before that.

Re:Wall-builders (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 9 months ago | (#45181613)

Why reclaim? This would be the perfect place to send all the antisocial elements.

Good Luck with that. (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#45180959)

I think that when those "existing governments" want to collect taxes on your opt-in society, you'll find out just how easy it is to be "outside existing governments".

Re:Good Luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181347)

Due to enforcement costs, tax collection relies on willing participation; lots of people just don't pay, while suckers dutifully send in checks.

Re:Good Luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181451)

and when you don't pay your taxes, your house mysteriously burns down for no apparent reason.

what about a week later? (4, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#45181021)

He wants to build a society with built-in mechanisms that subvert existing businesses and institutions, while promoting new ones. Okay, that's fine on day one.

A week later, the "new" institutions are "existing", so those mechanisms subvert them. His plan then, is quite literally to build a society that subverts itself -where anything built is destroyed.

troll story (1)

green is the enemy (3021751) | about 9 months ago | (#45181059)

build a small tech incubator city that floats in international waters, outside of government control

Are these people planning to operate outside the law of an existing country? This seems beyond impossible. Not even worth discussing.

The Mars colony is more interesting for the technology required to to this than the society that might spring up on Mars.

Re:troll story (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 9 months ago | (#45181507)

Yeah, I dug deeper and it turns out the main backer is NAMBLA.

what's he going to eat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181075)

who is going to make his clothes?

how will he power his machines?

...And we'll call it Galt's Gulch. (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 9 months ago | (#45181113)

A fitting tribute to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Re:...And we'll call it Galt's Gulch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181221)

ugh! I knew someone had to dredge up her name from the gutter. Now I have to go shower

Old joke: who cleans the shitters in Galt's Gulch? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181179)

To dust off an old joke: who cleans the shitters in Galt's Gulch? Who "opts-in" to be a janitor?

Remember, the toolbags who are coming up with this are the same ones who think BART employees get paid "too much", so don't count on financial incentives to make somebody sign up.

Re:Old joke: who cleans the shitters in Galt's Gul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181401)

Believe it or not, there exist people who enjoy cleaning and also dislike using dirty bathrooms. Such people are naturally motivated to volunteer to clean the shitters. The problem is that society demotivates them through prejudice against janitorial work. So don't be a toolbag! Janitors do valuable work.

The Australia Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181233)

seems like a really great idea until robots tap into your spinal implant and force you to obey Rule #7: Obey The Rules [marshallbrain.com]

Bitcoin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181349)

"With Bitcoin, capital control becomes packet filtering."

No it does not. Capital control becomes a distributed consensus algorithm based on proof of work, with no authority. If you want to deny a transaction, you will have to convince the miners (exactly every last one of them) to never include it in a block, or a majority of them to never work on blocks chains that include it. Good luck convincing a large number of anonymous people to turn down a transaction fee. If you want to increase the currency in circulation, you to hard fork the currency. I don't think you understand how bitcoin works.

Also, if you want any sort of control, you wouldn't use bitcoin, you would want a separate currency (bitcoin has a vast amount of users and miners which you will never overcome to effect accomplish anything)

Packet filtering has basically nothing to do with bitcoin. I'm not going to opt in to a society build by people who don't understand what they are building with.

So, who maintains the extra hospital capacity in-case of major disease outbreaks? Who maintains the island? Who regulates the food, medicine, doctors etc? I'm not choosing my doctor based on the number of likes on some crypto based decentralized approval system (if you manage even that), when there is no system in place to prevent you from claiming to be 10k different residents happy with your own services.

I like my government run water supply, and electric utility too.

Who is going to provide internet access to a place without copyright law?

As much as I like the idea, I've spent long hours trying to design governmental systems, electoral systems etc. Its non trivial. You can't just claim crypto and tech solve all problems. I know crypto and tech, and I have tons of problems! If you opt out of census authorities, its pretty much impossibly to reliably differentiate one person from a million, which leads to tons of problems. I'd expect an article like this to spend most of its space on how to bootstrap a web of trust for the purpose of regulation (you know, digital mod rule based regulation, direct democracy style, because thats so much freeer).

If you have a large scale economy on this place (which it would need to be able to import supplies and pay for things like internet), someone (outside or inside) with try and exploit it. I'd like to see such a system hold up to insider trading (thats a "new" way to do stuff, so don't regulate against it): if you allow people to make massive profits by destroying their own companies, well, oops.

Making a country might not be too hard, but making one where anyone would want to live and contribute back to is pretty darn hard to do at scale.

Don't look at it thinking burning man shows this can work. The fact that burning man does not run continuously all year suggests that maybe this won't work? It is still under a government too, which provides lots of services (like jails, regulation of food supplies and firearms, regulations of which wavelengths are used for what etc), and most of the stuff there is imported from areas that have pretty strong consumer protection laws.

Re:Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181545)

The United States was designed by very smart men, and required only that the citizenry stay involved. The one confounding factor to all attempts to create a perfect society - or even a more perfect one - is people. In the case of the U.S., we chose leisure time and let the wolves run the hen house. People blame it on "anarcho-capitalism" or lobbyists wielding too much power in D.C., but those are merely symptoms, a rash that indicates a systemic imbalance.

This has happened before (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45181457)

The USA has a history of wacky religious/millennial utopian society's none of them lasted more than a few years and some ended really badly and does Mr Srinivasan expect there will be a place for colored people in this brave new world other than as navvies as is currently the practice in the middle east.

Deregulation (4, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | about 9 months ago | (#45181571)

'The best part is this,' Srinivasan said. 'The people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there.'

But people who will be quite happy to exploit your deregulated society will be right there with you!

Complain all you want about 'big banks' unethical behavior (really, keep complaining, write to your local MP/senator/whathaveyou, make sure the issue doesn't get dropped) but government regulation of banking means that if you put your money in a bank, you can be sure (at least up to £85,000 per Bank in the UK) that you will always have access to that money. Without regulation, then you have situations like with Paypal where the holder of you money can just up and decide "Nope, you can't have it anymore. It's ours for at least the next 9 months. Oh, you want an explanation? Too bad!".
Or how about enforcing standards, like power supply? You want a situation where not only does every device have it's own plug, but your house may not even supply the same voltage or frequency as the neighbourhood a mile away? 'No government at all' works fantastically when all your actors are rational and honest. That is also true to Communism. Finding this mythical group of rational and honest actors (and keeping out even a single bad egg) is the hard part.

Re:Deregulation (1)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45182349)

But people who will be quite happy to exploit your deregulated society will be right there with you!

Right. Look at Bitcoin. Most of the standard financial scams have been replicated in the Bitcoin world. Ponzi schemes, fake stocks, fake stock markets, brokers who took the money and ran, crooked escrow services, "online wallet" services that stole customer funds - that's Bitcoin. In the US banking crisis, depositors didn't lose their money. Even Madoff's customers are slowly getting about half their money back, as the liquidator sues everybody who made a big profit.

Scamming is such a big part of the Bitcoin economy that almost nobody is using it for anything legitimate. The latest thing seems to be a big run-up caused by the use of Bitcoin to get around China's tight exchange controls. That will probably be shut down by the People's Bank of China, so there seems to be a rush to turn yuan into dollars and euros.

Re:Deregulation (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45182537)

Scamming is such a big part of the Bitcoin economy because almost nobody is using it for anything legitimate. There's no real advantage for legitimate use over fiat currency at this time, and significant disadvantages. So long as we pay for our groceries in dollars, most people would much rather have dollars than some bits that have no established support.

libertarian wet dreams SHOULD be built at sea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45181677)

"Libertarian wet dream" came to mind by the end of the 2nd sentence...the rest of the post confirmed. Yes, we would all like to run away from the incompetence of our neighbors, our government and the lameness of our present order. Sorry. Elitism can never run away from the class of poor jerks whose dumb choices we hate to support but whose labor bakes our pizza, delivers our coke and unclogs our toilets.

An island might be the only place where all the winners of this scenario could live long enough unburdened by hungry dimwits and regulators to discover they too need that vast potion of humanity they despise....but you might as well propose a colony on mars, a place where this hideously selfish and incomplete notion of what human communities are would rapidly prove fatal.

Re:libertarian wet dreams SHOULD be built at sea. (1)

museumpeace (735109) | about 9 months ago | (#45181901)

for a minute there I thought you were going to equate all teh people who do not make it on to Thiels Island to the "Left Behind" Thinking your own daydream of the ideal world is so compelling that anyone not convinced is undeserving of salvation is very commmon.

Yeah, right. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45181983)

Not seeing any concrete plans here. Some of the ideas are silly, such as Blueseed, the scheme to have a ship just outside of US waters full of programmers. That's just a tax shelter. Of course, they want the U.S. Coast Guard to help them if they get in trouble, as their prospectus says. And they want a large ferry dock and a freighter doc in San Mateo County's Pillar Point small-boat harbor. And they want ICE to make that small-boat harbor a US entry point, so people don't have to go up to San Francisco on a boat to visit the US. They also wanted to set up a microwave link at the USAF radar station at Pillar Point. But they don't want to pay for any of this.

Then there was CITE [cite-city.com] , a small city to be built in New Mexico. No people - it was supposed to be just for testing "new technologies". The company behind it [pegasusglo...ldings.com] turns out to be basically one guy without much money and a lot of clip art. Got a lot of press, and even some political support, then the vaporware project went away. The business model made no sense.

Further back, there was the high-tech Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which Walt Disney was going to build. Disney World has EPCOT today, but it's a theme park; nobody lives there. Disney did eventually build Celebration, FL, which is a retro-looking subdivision.

Some very top-down countries have done things like this: Tsukuba Science City, Guangzhou Science City, King Khalid Military City, and Brasilia. Those are all Government projects. The US private sector has a long history of "company towns", most of it not too good.

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182099)

While these hypothetical/dreamy Opt-In societies are free of existing government, they will be under the regulations/rules of Thiel/Musk/Page government. The American government isn't perfect to it's not so broke I would be willing to submit myself to these alternatives.

Indian reservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182339)

Why live on a boat. Start something on the Indian reservation.

The US western frontier (1)

slew (2918) | about 9 months ago | (#45182375)

The US western frontier was often sold to the easterners as a place you could go to free yourselves from the stranglehold of modern society and make a clean start.

Sadly, most of the folks that made the trek were ill prepared for the radical self reliance required of early settlers in that territory. Many simply returned (some died on the way out or back), and a vanishing few found their dream lives. Of course their attempts paved the way for those that followed.

What made it possible, the lure of course was the exploitation of natural resource made it possible to generate enough wealth to bootstrap the society. Not to mention the heavy incentives (homestead land) doled out by the US government in attempt to build a critical population mass there before other competing political powers were able to manipulate the situation. It would take pretty deep pockets to do something similar in todays world (a couple billion from a single dot-com billionaire wouldn't likely be enough)...

The short story, it is likely most of those that make the attempt to build it will not achieve their goal in their lifetime, but it might make it possible for those that follow. Still want to opt-in?

Yes they will (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45182431)

"'The people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there.'"

Yes they will. They will follow you there, eventually, and with guns. Maybe not at first, but as soon as this new society starts having any noticeable impact on the US or the rest of the world--either though producing disruptive technology that threatens established, complacent businesses or by draining countries of intelligent, productive tax payers--expect the new society to be branded a terrorist enclave and to be a targeted by every (il)legal and ballistic weapon the politicians of the "old world" can muster.

Re:Yes they will (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#45182543)

Yes they will. They will follow you there, eventually, and with guns.

How do you plan to boss me around when I'm living on a comet in the Oort Cloud? Or just blasting out into deep space in a self-contained ship?

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