Information Technology


Aristotle imagined a world in which machines could do all the work for themselves. He believed that better machines could free and elevate people, even slaves. But when the economy becomes more about information it seems to distort and shrink the overall size. In the case of the music industry, making a pre-digital system “efficient” through a digital network shrank it economically to about a quarter of its size. Instead wealth is being vacuum upstairs, since most of the real value still occurs out in the real world is reconceived to be off the books.

We’re used to treating information as “free,” but the price we pay for the illusion of “free” is only workable so long as much of the overall economy isn’t about information. The information economy, has been busy trying to conceal the value of all information, of all things things

The identity stack is 3 layers: fabrication of interchangeable components, knowledge sets and expensive cryptography. Non-material roles may be priced at will pertaining to social conceptions of status, possession, rights and so forth. The capacity to “innovate” which is usually a word for disintermediation is now potentially exceeding the capacity to learn. The practice of splitting the economic and social aspects of technology at the lowest attainable level is like dividing church and state for our day.

The material structure can get as cheap as nature allows, and advances as quickly as technology. The ability to re-package and shrink economy seems to be growing exponentially. But if the world is to be reconceived and engineered as a place where people are not particularly distinguished from other components, then people will fade.


Software could be the final industrial revolution, and it might subsume all the revolutions to come: Maybe technology will make all the needs of life so inexpensive that it will be virtually free to live well. But instead, we are probably heading into a period of hyper-unemployment, and the attendant political and social chaos. The outcome of chaos is unpredictable, and we shouldn’t rely on it to design our future.

We’re used to treating information as “free,” but the problem in each case is not that you stole from a specific person but that you undermined the artificial scarcities that allow the economy to function. “Public goods” are defined as Non-exclusionary. They can be used by everyone, including those who don’t pay. They are Non-rivalrous. You disintermediate some and intermediate others. Transfer of intellectual property to those unrelated to the inventors is like injecting meth. Short term euphoria and long-term doom.