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the musk of change
of cats and bluebirds
in case some of you live in an ice cave and missed it, elon musk came out today and reaffirmed his intention to buy twitter at full price.
and there was much rejoicing in some quarters
and dire consternation in others
the predictable people are screaming predictable things about how the public square will be ruined by open and uncensored dialogue and that democracy dies without information curation and elon is fanning the flames by promising “the return of the right” to twitter.
is this unlikely agent to be the salvation of free speech on the internet?
only time will tell us that.
but if his own words ring anything like true, this may be a fine start.
i am particularly fond of the ideas that he and @jack have espoused about making twitter a protocol instead of a company and moving away from an advertising based model to reduce the attack surface for meddling and demands of censorship.
this was, in fact, quite a lot like what i suggested in my seminal substack.
it’s time we abandoned the misbegotten idea of “too important to be left to free markets” and realized that creating the real public square, commerce, money, and internet are too important NOT to be left to free markets.
there is no one we can trust to control these systems, so we must design systems that are not controlled by anyone.
you will not need a company like twitter to see or participate in social media. it will be everywhere. you will no longer be its product, you will not even be its customer: you will be a principal, a stakeholder. your data will be yours to keep or share, trade or donate as YOU see fit, not as a corporation or government allows or demands of you. this vast peer-to-peer experience will be free from their meddling, and so will you.
it will be so ubiquitous and intertwined with money and investment and markets and media that you will struggle to tell one from another as they will conjoin into one tissue protected by strong encryption and massive distributed redundancy. there will be no one who controls it and no “off” switch.
the concept of censorship will be rendered anachronistic.
advertising and information scraping will die as a business model in the age of seamless, low-friction micropayments and blockers for malicious content and data intrusion. you will be free to chart your own course, pick your own friends, and decide in the most granular of fashions which trade-offs suit you.
these are high and complex ideals and easier given voice than put into practice but if they are this could be the beginning of the change of everything.
it will be the end of the age of slant and a return to even keel and a springboard to the better.
it will mature us from this awkward internet adolescence of gatekeepers and walled gardens and break us free to unfettered adulthood emancipated to scrawl our own designs upon this new medium and to chose which of the designs of others to see and support.
taken to its logical conclusion, this is the emergence of “everything 2.0.”
this is the vast, end to end, private and secure swarm-sourced peer to peer system of communication and commerce for the two will inevitably blend into one and the steganographic substrate of functionally infinite encrypted data being passed peer to peer in endless procession will make monitoring impossible.
is that a bitcoin or a biology text? it that a smart contract or a cat meme? your privacy will once more be yours and the public square will once more be free, fecund, and flourishing.
we have but to open the door.
perhaps best of all, this is how money gets taken away from governments. properly instantiated, this is the backdrop, network, and protocols to realize the nascent dream of cryptocurrency. and if we can take the monopoly and monitoring of money away from leviathan and secure it for we the people it will represent one of the greatest shifts in power from state to citizen in the whole of human history. this carries in it the seeds of becoming customers rather than subjects and of true governance by the consent of the governed for none other will be fundable. one cannot tax what one cannot see.
and that future is impossibly bright.
it constitutes a polestar and a pathway for the remaking of everything and an unprecedented freedom for humanity.
nothing will happen overnight.
hard goals and hard work lie between here and there.
and perhaps this is our grand chance and perhaps it is not.
but there is no progress without belief that progress can be made.
and perhaps one day soon, cats may again rule the bluebird kingdom.
i have a dream…