Taken from the title of Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin’s 2008 book, “the dark forest” region of the web is becoming increasingly important as a space of online communication for users of all ages and political persuasions. In part, this is because it is less sociologically stressful than the clearnet zone, where one is subject to peer, employer, and state exposure. It also now includes Discord servers, paid newsletters (e.g., Substack), encrypted group messaging (via Telegram, etc.), gaming communities, podcasts, and other off-clearnet message board forums and social media. One forages for content or shares in what others in the community have retrieved rather than accepting whatever the platform algorithms happen to match to your data profile.
Additionally, dark forest spaces are both minimally and straightforwardly commercial. There is typically a small charge for entry, but once you are in, you are free to act and speak without the platform nudging your behavior or extracting further value. It is also interesting to keep in mind that the dark forest shares the same cables and satellite arrays as clearnet channels, is accessed via the same devices, and essentially all of its denizens continue to simultaneously participate in clearnet spaces (as contemporary professional protocol demands). It is therefore not analogous to legacy countercultural notions of going off-grid or “dropping out.”
A strong hint about the real future of virtual reality and a callback to the MUD era which I had a lot of trouble understanding. Seeing it on Tiktok makes it a lot more tangible in a bunch of ways.
[Cryptoart is] a crime against humanity.
I’m horrified to see this willingly traded for an opportunity to reproduce the worst parts of the existing physical art market, where “the original” is useful foremost as a rare thing- a unique thing- that, in its scarcity, is an asset.
Many would call me unrealistic and naïve for this, unwilling to make compromises in the world we are living now because of an idealistic vision of a tomorrow; and to them I would like to say that we literally invented an extra-sovereign monetary system that within 10 years has generated trillions of dollars of worth and is held up with the power consumption of a small country.
This is an interesting Instagram scam.
The account is pumped up to a large number of followers with actual content which I guess is what makes its messages enter my primary inbox. When they send this message, the avatar of the account is changed to the official instagram logo, which makes it look real if you don’t read the username.
I didn’t reply and the next day the avatar has been reverted. The account continues its life as a ghost fan account. I wonder whether I’ll catch it again with its avatar changed.
I reported this chat and account to Instagram as a scam but nothing has happened.
It’s nice that these startups guys take a public schooling so well. It would be nice if we could see more of that on Clubhouse instead of the endless rows of bad panels.
When I still did photography, I read everything I could find about how cameras work and this is the mental model I built up back then.
The lovely thing about this webpage is that it makes each of the mechanics interactive so you can play with them and see what happens.
“This is all to say that Paul Graham is an effective marketer and practitioner, but a profoundly unserious public intellectual. His attempts to grapple with the major issues of the present, especially as they intersect with his personal legacy, are so mired in intuition and incuriosity that they’re at best a distraction, and worst a real obstacle to understanding our paths forward.”
An utter and total indictment of Paul Graham who of course is impervious to such things.
I’m just thinking of moving away from Chrome but for somebody who’s as heavy a tab user as I am, this looks useful and also scarily confronting.
I am immensely happy to see two friends launch Branch, a magazine about creating a sustainable internet. The way they put the magazine together mirrors the best practices of the future we should live in right now.
It sounds like a great idea here by Albert Wenger to force all major web properties to provide full read and write access to their APIs and in doing so promote the much needed competition.
A Twitter, Instagram or Whatsapp with full-featured commercializable third-party clients would be much better than what we have now.