This year, I helped University of Chicago science fiction writer and renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian Adrian Johns host a series of interdisciplinary seminars on “Censorship, Information Control, & Revolutions in Information Technology from the Printing Press to the Internet.”more
I’m heading to San Francisco next week for a launch party on December 11th celebrating the release of The End of Trust, a collaboration between EFF and McSweeney’s on internet surveillance and the future of the net; the event is at 7:30PM at Manny’s at 3092 16th Street (RSVP here), and I’ll be on a panel with EFF exec director Cindy Cohn, moderated by the amazing Annalee Newitz! end of trust,san francisco,events,happy mutants,privacy, mannys-730pm
Reason’s December issue celebrates the magazine’s 50th anniversary with a series of commissioned pieces on the past and future of the magazine’s subjects: freedom, markets, property rights, privacy and similar matters: I contributed a short story to the issue called Sole and Despotic Dominion, which takes the form of a support chat between a dishwasher owner and its manufacturer’s rep, who has the unhappy job of describing why the dishwasher won’t accept his dishes.
The story is part of a series of thought-experiments/science fiction tales about appliances that follow the Iphone App Store model of limiting interoperability to manufacturer-approved items; it started with the 2015 story “If Dishwashers Were Iphones,” and it followed up in my novella “Unauthorized Bread,” which will be published in my 2019 book Radicalized (Unauthorized Bread is also being developed for TV).
I am using Disher dishes. The ones I bought in Dubai.
Sir yes thank you. Please stand by while I investigate your account.
THANK YOU FOR STANDING BY. WE AT DISHER VALUE YOUR TRUST AND STRIVE TO EARN IT EVERY DAY. IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS, CONCERNS OR COMPLIMENTS ABOUT YOUR DISHER EXPERIENCE PLEASE LET US KNOW
Sir thank you I am back. I see from your IP address and other telemetry that you are in Melstone, Montana. Is that correct?
Yes. I took a new job and got relocated here.
Sir thank you I see your problem. Your dishes were sold for use within Shia territories in the Middle East and Asian regions. They are not authorized for use in the USA.
What? Are you crazy? They’re Disher dishes, this is a Disher dishwasher!
Sir I am sorry you are unhappy. However, I must correct you. Please allow me to offer this frequently asked question:
Q. ARE PRODUCTS BOUGHT IN FOREIGN KITCHEN STORES USABLE WITH MY DISHER SPECKLESS?
The trademarks and other intellectual property in the products sold by different Disher affiliated companies through the regional Kitchen Stores are licensed for use on a territory-by-territory basis. In many cases, different territorial licensors own the exclusive right to manufacture and distribute different brands in the Kitchen Store, and part of Disher’s commitment to respecting international laws and intellectual property is our use of the sensors in Disher Speckless systems to optimize your Disher experience by ensuring that our devices do not violate these important contractual arrangements.
Sir I’m afraid it’s not a joke. Please allow me to offer this frequently asked question:
Sole and Despotic Dominion [Cory Doctorow/Reason]
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act — tech’s stupidest law — turns 20 this year; I chatted with Molly Wood on Marketplace Tech about the law’s history and how dismally little we’ve learned from it, repeating and even magnifying its mistakes today. (MP3)
My latest Locus Magazine column is What the Internet Is For: it describes the revolutionary principle (end-to-end communications) and technologies (general purpose computers, strong cryptography) that undergird the net, but also cautions that these are, themselves, not sufficient to revolutionize the world.
I was one of the keynote speakers at last week’s Ethereum Devcon in Prague, where I gave a talk called “Decentralize, Democratize, or Die,” about the way that bad tech policy (crypto backdoors, the DMCA’s ban on security disclosures, etc) come from weak states where the super-rich get to call the shots, and how things like money-laundering creates these weak states. The core message: if you don’t figure out how to make more pluralistic, less plutocratic states, you will never get the kind of information security you need for your blockchain systems to thrive.
I’m in Berlin today, promoting the German edition of my novel Walkaway: the kindly folks at Otherland Books are hosting me tonight at a free event at DTK Wasserturm, where I’ll be presenting with Marcus Richter. Hope to see you there! Tell your friends!
I’m going to be in Berlin next week to promote the German edition of my novel Walkaway: I’ll be appearing at DTK-Wasserturm from 20h-22h, sponsored by Otherland Books. Entry is free — I hope to see you there!
I’ve just closed a new book deal: Tor Books will publish “Radicalized,” which tells four stories of hope, conflict, technology and justice in the modern world and near future in March 2019; along with the book deal is a major audiobook deal with Macmillan Audio and a screen deal with Topic Studios (a sister company to The Intercept) for one of the tales, “Unauthorized Bread.”