Day 1073 and Math is Leverage

People who are bad at math are discovering that the future is entirely in the hands of people who are good at math, and that’s the culture war in a nutshell.

A tweet on math goes viral

It’s a source of power & leverage to be able to clearly articulate your goals and to create tools that can enact them.

To put it another way, being able to give clear instructions about what you want is what actually matters, compute and math are simply ways of extending that capacity. Anyone can harness it. And many more of us will.

That we can distribute this knowledge to our entire planet should be a source of pride. All children are heirs to this legacy of our species. We’ve never had more knowledge so openly held especially as artificial intelligence and machine learning has come into its own.

These tools can be life changing and I’d like to see them in as many hands as possible. Everyone gets mad at the engineers for asking specific questions but it’s not philosophical debates that solves the future. It’s building things we all use.

Engineers see the limits already being suggested in limiting our access to compute for AI and are rightly concerned. It’s in the current Biden executive order on the space. We are seeing limitations enacted in Europe. I believe freedom to compute will become as salient an issue as freedom of speech. Do not give up your power. Learn to harness these tools and coordinate with others who do.

Community Finance Startups

Day 1070 and Allocating Personal Capital

As part the part of Twitter called TPOT comes into its own power the topic of resource allocation and how to route projects to sources of capital game up with Brooke Bowman of VibeCamp. It is a key question for Network State like entities that will need to navigate social ties.

I want to share how I do it as I’ve rooted some amount of capital across very different communities. I do it with some sets of intuitions I’ve gained from existing in a very powerful network of interests that are “The Silicon Diaspora” which is a syncretic coalition.

Much of it comes down to very specific context of what others are looking for in terms of outcomes. Investors with a specific thesis are much easier to work with for this reason. I try to express mine clearly at and express myself actively through revealed preferences. I assume nothing is personal & everyone is working with some amount of emotional reactivity as it’s a human business.

A lot of it comes down to knowing who is a node in your network that can redirect it to someone who believes their resources can see a good return on their goals that are varying levels of abstract and personal. Skills and passions vary and this is good. It’s a mix of social capital, actual capital, and attention and it’s a giant game of inference

Some folks very good nodes and quite open to a range of different types of projects. Sometimes it’s just as simple as asking if they know someone who knows someone. I see a lot that isn’t in my own thesis but it’s in my own interest to pass it to others for whom it might be. The ecosystem approach has maximum strength when it’s played as a multi-agent pro-social game.

Also you almost never know someone’s full history so taking any reaction super personally is something I find to be too much for my own emotions. And I know a lot of history so if I can’t do it I try to make the presumption others can’t either. Be kind but clear.

That helps avoid a lot of accidental feuds that otherwise can ignite if you try to be delicate. I find transparent assessments of my own incentives goes a long way if I express it as part of my own reason for aligning. This is how I’ve worked with communities as diverse as back to the land doomers and crypto futurists to effective acceleration.

This is a fancy way of saying I don’t think “gossip” aka information sharing is actually bad but part of the empathy process of understanding what people want to work on and pay attention to in how they marshal their capital. You intake the values of your coalition and find shared ground. You keep their confidences by expressing collective goals. I try not to overweight my goals in that process. You have to do what’s right knowing outcomes are uncertain.

Showing you understand their context, their fears and their reputations concerns helps you. An act we denigrate in popular culture actually helps you to deepen the relationships as each signifier breaks down space between two people and builds trust. So don’t knock gossip. It has evolutionary, societal and individual benefit. Just remember the ultimate outcome is about bringing people closer.

Day 146 Gossip

I believe we are in an era where individuals can exercise significantly more agency because of the high leverage nature of the tools available to us. We owe much of this to information access and that is a wide coalition of people who are exercising basic freedoms to self determine because of this march of technology.

It’s my belief that freedom to compute is freedom of speech and these digital communities represent what I hope is more effective self governance through decentralization. We must build up the social trust amongst each other by showing we value each other’s interests. I believe this to be the right thing to do for each other. It’s the human thing too.

Internet Culture Medical

Day 1069 and Fever

I both literally have a fever in my own body while I am watching a fever burn through one of my favorite extremely online communities in the form of effective acceleration memers versus a heavily armed establishment unit of academic utilitarians. Who would like you to know they aren’t effective altruists I’m sure.

I myself enjoy a good internecine debate as I became a Calvinist as an adult because fuck it the Reformation is the home of the institutional skeptic. Flame wars are the modern 95 theses. And naturally everyone involved thinks their counterparts are reactionaries. Tyranny of small differences.

I’d say more about this but it’s later in the day and like I said I am running a fever. My immune system is remarkably active so I’m honestly shocked a fever got through at all. I actively beat my immune system into retreat so whenever it gains ground I am annoyed and confused. So it’s probably best if I sign off as it’s never a good idea to be letting your fever dreams get the best of you.

Aesthetics Community Internet Culture Startups

Day 1066 and Behind The Scenes of Thousand Scenes Flourishing

We are living in an era of competing totalizing narratives. We assign Jungian archetypes and monomyths to complicated people and complex situations with many variables.

We ship relationships and stan fandoms even as the meme message is that we should be shipping code and forming bonds with other people with agency.

Remember that hyperstition is about bringing a reality into being. We have agency to impact the world we live in. We have more control than ever and anyone can get leverage.

I’m so inspired to see how many communities are facing an uncertain future head on. Sure we’ve had schisms and it’s easy to judge someone else’s sincere revivalism with crass cynicism.

I prefer an optimism about what we can all accomplish when we compete to serve a need better than anyone else. I like specialization as the more knowledgeable that is dispersed widely beyond a priest cast the better we seem to do as a species. A whole world of people is calling to you to own more of the future personally.

You may wonder what you can contribute. And sure some actors are massively more agentic. I never thought I’d be in that rare class and yet I can contribute meaningful to dozens of aligned projects. It’s important to avoid dickriding. Don’t make up stories about your betters. Or at least try not to believe them.

You can be personally better yourself. You can accelerate. Now is the time to arm yourself with leverage as the world shifts. Be wary of messiahs and mercenaries but also know action is expensive.

Strong organizations have healthy value memetics. “Just Do It” frames a broader truth that humans take in a context of millions of other agents. Action is disproportionally powerful when people just play their role.

I fight nihilism. I’m not eager for the end of humanity or our civilizations. I want our flourishing. But neither am I attached to a static vision of my humanity or yours. In the image of God gives quite a bit of latitude for our species’ evolution.

Internet Culture Startups

Day 1062 and Just Go

I’m writing this as I wait to board an airplane from Bozeman to San Francisco International. In the spirit of taking more actions I am applying more acceleration to my own daily life. If you’d like to discuss e/acc #FreedomToCompute I’ll be around in the city and you can expect to see me at some events.

It feels unusual just hopping on an airplane. It was a behavior that I took for granted in pre-pandemic life. The golden age for the early adopter consumer internet and the low interest rate phenomenon of the post Global Financial Crisis meant I could hop a flight from NYC to SFO and arrange an Airbnb or HotelTonight while in the security line.

It’s a little more challenging now if you don’t come out of the last cycle with a few wins. And judging by the fullness of the flight and its demographics others are seeing San Francisco as the center of a lot of activity in making sure they win the future.

Leaning into the future coming fast is a consensus view. Everyone is contesting space and the virtual world of the global internet is a powerful constituency. It’s just important to remember that even as we’ve mediated a lot with these tools sometimes you have to validate in person. Humans are just wired that way.

Community Culture

Day 1061 and Network State Alliances

A not uncommon occurrence for me is getting a DM from a journalist who is running down a story on some extremely online social movement that is gaining normie traction. I am adjacent (sometimes literally given my Montana neighbors) to dozens of uneasily aligned communities. And I chronicle it with a lot of writing.

Who knew hippies libertarians would be as tolerated as we appear to be but somehow we ended up a as the Switzerland of the culture wars. I guess being a tolerant group has benefits. And we’ve held a consistent position which probably helps. Dislike of centralizing control no matter may be simplistic but human nature is makes me prefer it. I bet it’s a default position for plenty of people.

Maybe it’s because my identity is a little hard to pin down but my blend of constituent parts means I’m a trusted party to everything from crypto libertarians to “back to the land” religious revivalists. I am a big believer in the big tent acceptance that America offered.

Internet Culture Politics

Day 1056 and Freedom to Compute

We must start a #FreedomtoCompute movement based on the idea that access to computing power is a fundamental right.

Math and computing power are as essential as speech. In today’s world, they ARE speech. We may speak in natural language, but the way we extend ourselves, build things, and grow as a species is through our tools. Computation is a tool.

We oppose all attempts to restrict computational power and envision a world where we all have the right to build whatever we can dream.

The incumbent power is always going to try and keep disruptive and democratizing power out of the hands of the populace

Math & computer power are as essential as speech. Imagine if the first amendment had been frozen in time at the printing press and didn’t protect the internet.

We cannot accept permanently lowered standards of fundamental rights


Day 1055 and Shipping

All of startup world has spent the last few days wrapped up in the drama of OpenAI and why the board fired Sam Altman.

A theory I’d like to float (seriously but not literally) is that we are in the middle of a massive scissor statement war between “acceleration” and “deceleration” and we’ve assigned Jungian archetype champions & simple “just so” stories to the players.

There is very little nuance when you seek to find meaning in a situation by narrative alone. Recall that divide and conquer is an effective control technique and Silicon Valley is finding it must choose sides. Perhaps this is by design.

Everyone is overthinking this whole OpenAI debacle. The real explanation has been staring is the face for weeks.

Be concerned, be very very concerned.

Bojan Tunguz
I expect AI to be capable of superhuman persuasion well before it is superhuman at general intelligence, which may lead to some very strange outcomes

I think the “super” human part is how super stupid we are as a species when it comes to smoothing narratives and hero worship. We are easily persuaded by stories we recognize. This meme summed it up nicely.

Memes are just 21st century Jungian archetypes.

If you had an artificial intelligence trained on every single biography, history & public relations campaign in written history (let’s entertain the notion Altman did) wouldn’t this hijacking of narratives & assigning of fables be what it would do?

The vibes of Silicon Valley were checked. To make a joke about all the fan fiction we’ve collectively co-written on social media, we shipped the marriage of e/acc and Sam Altman. We shipped Altman and Brockman as loyal cofounder technology brothers in arms fighting for acceleration.

We told stories and made heroes and villains of the two narratives. Even though many of the factions in e/acc absolutely had criticized the regulatory capture approach of OpenAI. But once it was a choice between acceleration and deceleration sides were chosen.

When it was presented as a binary choice most chose a side on this easily. Acceleration is better on average than deceleration. I believe that too.

I have a lot of caveats and nuance in that choice, as I bet most people who work in artificial intelligence and Silicon Valley probably do. Yes change is hard and no change is without risk. Time marches on.

If it’s one or the other, sometimes people get irreparably split off entirely by the scissor. Be skeptical of this. Don’t separate yourself from people you know to be of good faith and conscience.

The only way we achieve anything is by doing the other kind of shipping. Ship your code, ship your product, make things and get feedback from people. Hero worship and archetypal battles don’t matter as much as taking action in your own life. Build things for yourself and for other people. That’s a human goal.

Biohacking Internet Culture

Day 1054 and Extra Strain

This year has had a number of absolutely crazy weekends where it’s felt as if the entire world was having the rules written overnight. Seemingly unrelated bits of the world will flare into supernova attention grabbers.

Off the top of my head, I can recall weekends devoted to aliens, bank collapse, room temperature super conductors, war in Israel and fear we’ve summoned artificial intelligence.

The fact that we can participate in the narratives as they emerge on social media means that every type of influence actor does just that. And it’s exhausting even as it’s occasionally a fun interactive game.

Today I found myself with a poor Whoop recovery and more physiological strain that is ideal. You can see it in my awful heart rate variability. Nevertheless I tried to stick to good routines, possibly to my detriment.

My afternoon went from enjoyable walk to migraine to a low stability.

You can see my Welltory data after I went for a forty minute walk. My HRV tanked and I went into a migraine pattern. Thankfully Imitrax, meditation, and a short non sleep deep relaxation exercise got me stabilized in about two hours.

Aesthetics Culture

Day 1053 and Revivalism

You’ve gotta have faith.

I am a little surprised to find myself discussing what appears to be a genuine revivalist movement from all walks of life.

“This particular corner of Twitter” is neo-Shakerism. The singularity is always coming is coming for the computer nerds. The rationalists are pitted against futurists. Steely realists admit to having woo sensibilities about the nature of reality.

But we are also being subjected to surprisingly archetypal forms of the hero’s journey in every single news story and social media narrative at alarmingly rapid rate. A rational man is going to want to wag the dog. We do a little kayfabe. The crowd cheers its hero.

But also mere men are elevated to strange statuses. You can believe in a cause but be unsure of the martyrs and mercenaries that fight for it. I feel like if you were really that horny for the Roman Empire you’d have more dates handy on Caesars and the savior and be a little less focused on the Gladiators and the bread and circus.

But we’ve got people who can conjure fire and this time it’s not priests but machine learning engineers who write fan fiction about British Boarding schools that are in charge. The biggest dork you know gets to summon God. It’s not that irrational to worry we’ve summoned elder gods isn’t the of the divine right? Folk stories have some meaning right?

And like sure Bayesian inferences says maybe you should worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster. I say watch out for those Babylon death culture memetics because we didn’t have the right inference field about the sun for most of history. The trickster god can be summoned as sure as the devil. Lets remember information hygiene was not good for most of history so it paid to have some prejudices.

Nevertheless the worship of men has gods has generally been iffy. And so, and I can’t entirely explain it as evidenced by the rambling writing in doing this weekend, but the hive mine of the Internet feels like a real team effort at controlling popular opinion about the arrival of the promised land.

And sure I have recency bias. While I was in Amsterdam for the Network State Conference I was missing a gathering of what amounts to Christian hippie revivalists. Another node of my network that m feels adjacent to both technology and culture was at a Catholic divinity school in Washington D.C. Meanwhile my feed makes whisper jokes of mystery cults and computational power. Worship is powerful. I’ve talked to all sorts of rationalists into new forms of woo and, magic. We speak of queens and divas and witches. Everyone is sure that something is coming and they feel the divine.

It’s within these networks of social organization and belief where I see clashes of power and organization. There are political theorists and economists contending with what a centralized higher authority might do make for more efficient resource allocation. Appeal to authority! We have any number of radical thinkers who are essentially rogue elements of human consensus who are if they seized with a little bit of “agreed on common good” we can revolutionize how we do resource allocation. Central planning is so scientific. Tith!

I feel a little bit like the drama of everyone having access to social media has made us all participate in elaborate fan fictions about who moves the world. I see all over my timeline Zoomers staning over Schopenhauer and Heidegger and Kant as if they were secret movers of history. And they are.

We’ve got a genre of signalling on the internet where if you find a theorist whose mother wrote a nasty letter to him for being socially awkward you’d get people discussing general trauma dumping. Did you understand that? I’m sorry to say you have brain worms and you’ve been trained on a steady diet of rebellion and empire. Be safe out there.