cory doctorow

cory doctorow


lots of cool stuff about Cory.

perhaps my fav – the end of the internet’s own boy.. when he says..

on Jack – this is why what Aaron did is so important..

we can’t block the rabbit holes


interview jul 2013:

Aaron Swartz and Hacktivism

15 min – because 97% of them will plead guilty

16 min – you owe us a kazillion – so why not let’s settle for open

Aaron wrote the afterword in Cory’s homeland – it only works if you take part


comes out nov 2014:

information doesn't want to be free

book links to amazon

“Filled with wisdom and thought experiments and things that will mess with your mind.” — Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book and American Gods

“Cory Doctorow has been thinking longer and smarter than anyone else I know about how we create and exchange value in a digital age.” — Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and Program or Be Programmed


keeping money flowing right way:

1. anytime someone puts a lock on something of yours but doesn’t give you the key – that’s not to your benefit, ie: digital rights management – you lose control – and are permanently bonded to lock person

(this is crazy)

2. fame won’t make you rich, but you can’t sell your art w/o it

(whoa – too much)

the way the internet works is to make copies

3. information does not want to be free – info is just an abstraction – it’s people that want to be free – what the internet is – is the nervous system of the 21st cent. you should be allowed to know about all the flaws in your devices.

if someone’s action/communication – seems banal to you – it’s because you’re not the audience

if you need to break the internet to accomplish your trick – then you’re on the wrong side of history


find/follow Cory:

link twitter

wikipedia small

his site:


sept 2013:


jun 2014:


jan 2015 on Holt:


jan 2016


weapons of Math Destruction: how Big Data threatens democracy…

..Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil’s talk at Personal Democracy Forum 2015, “Weapons of Math Destruction,” in which she laid out the way that the “opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable” conclusions of Big Data threatens fairness and democracy.

I’d read her excellent site for years, but the presentation crystalized much of what I’d read of hers in a crisp, compelling argument.


We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance

are those not irrelevant s..?

—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this shocking book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his race or neighborhood), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.

Tracing the arc of a person’s life, from college to retirement,

perhaps we trace entire life.. but with everyone.. doing something else.. to get to ps in the open, io dance, ..

www ness, et al

O’Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. Models that score teachers and students, sort resumes, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health—all have pernicious feedback loops.

perhaps the dark\er side: we big/focus on irrelevant data. we perpetuate not us even when we think we’re light/er siding

perhaps it’s not the big ness but the wrong/irrelevant ness of the data we keep assuming is the data .. that’s keeping us in the dark.


irrelvant quote vinay


perhaps self-talk as data..  via chip ness

for (blank)’s sake…   a nother way


Cory’s bit before Aaron‘s writings on media in – the boy who could change the world..

4\ media

p 203-04 – being a science fiction writer is nothing like a futurist. or shouldn’t be, anyway. .. the point of science fiction is to talk about the present – to build a counterfactual world that illustrates some important fact about the present that is so vast and diffuse that it’s hard to put your finger on…. we pluck a single tech fact out of the world around us, and we build a world in a bottle where that fact is the totalizing truth … take reader on tour of this thought experiment that gives him the power to intuit the way tech is flexing our reality, … making the invisible visible… its value is not in prediction but in description…… call it hope… even if i was convince nothing i did mattered, i’d still be out there .. because this world is people i love… ask what you can do to make the world better.. live as though… – cory doctorow


april 2016 – on capitalism

Anything big and complicated that is subject to exogenous shocks is never going to be a thing you can plot.


That’s a futuristic parable that uses Wikipedia and any Linux project to think about the scale at which we can operate in the absence of hierarchy. It challenges our imaginations to think about the coordination of that much labor without hierarchy.


Proponents of surveillance would rather argue about the personal merits of the whistleblower than about the substance of what they’ve blown the whistle on.




Down in front, Doctorow!

1:50 sf (2:50 den) – Cory


How will we keep the Decentralized Web decentralized: my talk from #DWebSummit…

Keynote: Cory Doctorow – “How Stupid Laws and Benevolent Dictators can Ruin the Decentralized Web, too”
In the last twenty years, we’ve managed to nearly ruin one of the most functional distributed systems ever created: today’s Web. There are many stakeholders being damaged in the process, from individuals to entire nations. To lock open the Web we will need more than code. We will need binding agreements and covenants that enshrine our deepest values. Cory Doctorow shares his vision of what went wrong and how we can get it right – through governance and policies – in the decentralized Web to come.
notes from talk:
once become grown up.. will be tired /unable to resist..and the most strong willed thing you can do is use willpower you have now when strong.. to be best later.. called ulysses pact
i’m not better than people who made compromises… either are you ..easy to understand present bene’s and hard to remember future costs..
help self – making oreos more expensive
and/or – solve problem at deep er level
take options off table right now..: the way to avoid making compromises in future is to take them off the table in the present
the way the web got centralized today was bc people like you + I, who share our values, made incremental compromises
the GPL (general public license) worked at locking things open by not being able to compromise
systems that work well but fail badly are doomed to die in flames – the GPL is designed to fail well
drm (digital rights management) – software on computer that overides user..tries to take over your computer to enforce you not seeing things.. DRM is legally enforced anti-tampering – it’s being used by ford to force you to buy their parts
what that means: if you want to do io w/o permission…. that has never been modified by legislature.. conduct becomes radioactively illegal
DRM “is a bad idea whose time has come… And has metastasized” into the larger world
 Governments responsible for enforcing retribution they never legislated.

if drm is inevitable.. and i refuse to believe it is.. it’s becasue people around world made a mill compromises.. made because each of us thought we were alone and no one would have our back…they were good people acting unselfishly

when we are alone.. believe we are alone.. we are weak..

if all need to do is find someone smart/kind and ask to make all decisions for you.. but it fails badly.. we are all a mix of short sighted and long term..

we must give each other moral/literal support.. by agreeing now what an open internet is.. and locking it open..

and/or.. making sure people are free.. ie: science of people in schools et al

1\ systems all be designed so owners can overidden by remote parties – When a computer received conflicting instructions from its owner or a 3rd party, the owner must always win.

2\ disclosing true facts about security we rely on.. should never be illegal

if you computerize world and you don’t safe guard users ..

cannot lock open.. best is to wedge it open until it falls.. and leave behind materials/infrastructure that people can take in future… a legacy of tech.. norms/skills that embrace freedom/openness.. a commitment to care about all people alive today and all who live in future.. ..

q: how to we keep bad from happening when valient efforts  2\ two levels.. specific: a condition of using some library.. et al.. is to irrevicaly promise to never use patents against people who use it in addition: never take any step that restricts the thing that using a patent would restrict.. is off the table..

way to change this.. in legislature.. is iteratively by picking off around edges.. challenge constitutionality of dml all together..

or perhaps.. leap to a nother way.. disengage from laws.. for (blank)’s sake

forbidden research



Are we locking #innovation out of the Web? #OReillyHardware Podcast

9 min – on rules on rules on rules..

system where tools.. are illegal to investigate/report on.. and web is subject to censorship.. however we think about innovation.. artitrary access to censorship.. and making it illegal to tell people about bad of use..

inspectors of inspectors ness.. laws keeping us from helping us

13 min – wrote little brother.. mark klein story .. 2006-7

16 min – on leaks et al.. ie: panama papers.. consequences of misconduct becoming more personal..

17 min – we are at peak indifference..

18-20 min – on talking of his privacy tools..

imagine if we didn’t spend time/energy on that..

36 min – www consortium.. w3c

41 min – better a screwed up web with us still around to manage it..

42 min – better idea via w3c – making everybody at w3c not to use patents.. position on whether not impediments to standards.. failed to get it…

43 min – then…. in absence of consensus.. tim bl said – alright let’s make dmr w/o protections… i don’t know what we’re going to do.. i think maybe we just lost the web…

44 min – they could just promise to not sue people .. they have it in their power.. but choose not to.. really got me down.. don’t know if we fork w3c..

46 min – everyone of these firms that are participating in drm got their start from something drm would have prevented

47 min – i don’t know what to do about this… i can’t sit on sideline writing sci fiction novels.. we’re going to lose if we don’t do something about it..

a nother way..

48 min – let me address this getting paid ness… i don’t think copyright law… rent seeking.. other than adding value.. lock others out of adding value..

51 min – project – appollo 1201 – to kill drm in next (in our lifetime)

ps in the open ness



Our current state of denial, by @doctorow. Read it please.…

But there’s a very spe­cial kind of dis­agree­ment that’s a kind of dis­agree­ment that’s hard to make pro­gress from, and That’s denial­ism. This is man­u­fac­tured con­tro­versy from peo­ple who ben­e­fit from mak­ing it seem like there’s con­tro­versy about some­thing for which there is no actual con­tro­versy among prac­ti­tion­ers.


the kind of denial I’m going to talk about mostly today, is Turing-completeness denial.

So, we only really know how to make one kind of com­puter. That’s the com­puter that can run all the pro­grams that we can express sym­bol­i­cally. But for lots of rea­sons, peo­ple would like it to be pos­si­ble to make com­put­ers that can only run pro­grams that don’t make you sad.


One of the canon­i­cal exam­ples of Turing-completeness denial is dig­i­tal rights man­age­ment, this idea that if you want to stop peo­ple from run­ning pro­grams that make copies of files that you wouldn’t like them to copy on their com­puter, you can encrypt the file and send it to them, and also send them the key, but ask their com­puter not to let them know what the key is. The tech­ni­cal term for this in secu­rity cir­cles is wish­ful think­ing.”


But of course, if Turing denial isn’t just about DRM, ….. cryp­tog­ra­phy denial, ….other kind of Turing-completeness denial that we have is pri­vacy denial, the idea that if you have noth­ing to hide you have noth­ing to fear. That secrecy is the same as pri­vacy. That because I know what you do when you go into the toi­let it shouldn’t be your right to close the door….

And the thing about denial is it begets nihilism. Denial mat­ters because the things that are being denied (the poten­tial harms of pri­vacy, anthro­pogenic cli­mate change, AIDS, can­cer) those things are real. And the non-solutions that arise when you deny them, those non-solutions don’t solve these prob­lems that are real and get­ting worse because they’re not being addressed through our pol­icy because we can’t address them because we’re in denial about them.


It’s the old lady who swal­lowed the fly prob­lem, right? Once you accept that we need to solve this prob­lem by smok­ing lighter cig­a­rettes, by tak­ing more vit­a­mins, then it begets another prob­lem. You must not be tak­ing the right vit­a­mins. You must not be smok­ing light enough cig­a­rettes. You you must not be try­ing hard enough to lock down hard­ware so that users can’t recon­fig­ure it.

So, the prob­lem is still there. The solu­tion hasn’t worked. And the denial move­ment won’t admit it, because to admit it would be to admit that they were wrong. Instead we pass a law that says dis­clos­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties inDRM is a felony pun­ish­able by five years in prison and a five hundred-thousand dol­lar fine. Because although we know that the DRM can be bro­ken, we assume that we can just silence the peo­ple who dis­cover those flaws.

If you’re not allowed to tell peo­ple about flaws in sys­tems that they rely on,

it doesn’t mean that those flaws won’t get weaponized and used against them. It just means that they’ll never know about it until it’s too late. Everyone should have the absolute right to know whether or not the tech­nol­ogy they rely on is work­ing.

moxie on

So we spend more money, we take more mea­sures, we waste more of everyone’s time, and then we end up with it’s start­ing to feel like it’s too much trou­ble to even bother with.


Even though we can’t agree on the cause, we can agree that there is a prob­lem. So with pri­vacy, for exam­ple, the US gov­ern­ment says that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes vio­lat­ing terms of ser­vice a felony. And as Ethan just described, this means that we can’t inves­ti­gate in depth how ser­vices gather infor­ma­tion and use it, because in order to do so we have to vio­late their terms of ser­vice. And since the terms of ser­vice have the power of law, we risk going to jail just to find out what’s going on.

moxie on the need to be able to break the law.. to find new things/ways..


The pri­vacy and secu­rity impli­ca­tions of all of these devices being off-limits to inves­ti­ga­tion, to secu­rity audit­ing, and to dis­clo­sure… That’s fig­u­ra­tively ther­monu­clear, but it’s lit­er­ally poten­tially lethal for you not to be able to know how these sys­tems are work­ing and whether or not they have flaws in them.

Now, at a cer­tain moment, because these prob­lems become so vis­i­ble to us, we hit a kind of moment of peak indif­fer­ence. The moment when the peo­ple who care about this stuff, the num­ber of peo­ple who care about it, is never going to go down.

That’s not the moment at which the tide changes in the pol­icy debate, but it’s the moment at which the activist tac­tic changes.


Peak indif­fer­ence is the moment when you stop con­vinc­ing peo­ple to care about an issue, and start con­vinc­ing them to do some­thing about it.

a nother way – allowing for ps in the open – because – everybody is doing something else

perhaps less about convincing.. a more about modeling.. acting as if already.. and/or.. convincing by modeling..

And no one is the vil­lain of their own story. The net pio­neers who made the com­pro­mises that made the Internet what it is today, they instead of decid­ing to sell out, made a tiny com­pro­mise. And because we’re only really capa­ble of detect­ing rel­a­tive dif­fer­ences, they made another lit­tle com­pro­mise, and another lit­tle com­pro­mise, each one of which felt very small, but we ended up where we are today.


You’ll need tools to stop you from becom­ing com­pro­mised when you get old and tired.

mech simple enough.. to keep us alive/woke.. tools that keep you asking yourself everyday.. what matters most.. a story about people grokking what matters..


via Doug‘s share here:

Doctorow again:

As a member of the Walkman generation, I have made peace with the fact that I will require a hearing aid long before I die. It won’t be a hearing aid, though; it will really be a computer. So when I get into a car — a computer that I put my body into — with my hearing aid — a computer I put inside my body — I want to know that these technologies are not designed to keep secrets from me, or to prevent me from terminating processes on them that work against my interests.



fiction as useful tool to snap people out of nihlism

prediction is not a hugely interesting thing to be in game of.. implies future is unmaleable.. fixed..if can predict future.. can’t change future.. sci fi’s greatest job/trick.. has been to influence/inspire/warn the future.. turn generation into fans who want to do what they can to build…

fiction can provide an emotional fly thru of social/tech change..

the way we experience other people is by trying to model them in our minds.. interrogating a kind of model you built up.. very naively..  our subconscious builds that model when we’re reading.. and we experience empathy with that reading..

empathic sympathy is because you’re imagining your model of …

we give people empathy in stories for imag people in imag situations


NEW FULL EPISODE: Cory @doctorow – Little Brother [WATCH]…#DRM#MIT#SOPA#Clinton#Trump#scifi#politics#netflix


reading little brother just now


Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) tweeted at 7:16 AM – 15 Mar 2017 :

268 words on Party Discipline, a WALKAWAY story #dailywords (6307 words total) (

3 words: a nother way 

do able social fiction: a nother way book

There’s always been a gambling madness in the human spirit, a kind of perverse, instinctive itchiness that suddenly makes us willing to court disaster, simply on the off-chance of altering the mundane or miserable parameters of our daily lives.

If we could transform some of that madness into a madness of optimism and creativity, rather than boredom, rage, and despair, that could only be a good thing.


Tor Books (@torbooks) tweeted at 7:36 AM – 26 Apr 2017 :

Start reading @doctorow’s new novel Walkaway: an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death (


Ed and Cory on walkaway

Watch Edward @Snowden and Cory @doctorow imagine our hopeful, dystopian future

Original Tweet:

21 min – one reading of walkaway.. an attempt to figure out how to respond to a world where a system that’s gone to far to be reformed thru traditional means – Ed

a nother way

27 min – a strong theme of econ – but opp of Ayn Rand – that only way is to exchange.. Ed

29 min – market capitalism.. produces thru competition.. enormous gains in productivity.. that are to the great benefit of the long human project.. how to elevate every peasant to live like a lord


33 min – walkaway – sci trick of cleaving tech system from econ/social- what would it be like if we had the productivity of the assembly line and the working style of the craftsman.. engineer beyond boundary of firm and into world – Cory

eagle and condor..

44 min – to bank something that’s abundant when it’s abundant and then get it to somewhere scarce when it’s scarce.. – Cory

45 min – country based on searching for less order and more freedom – Ed

ed out

58 min – on it being hard to argue with people who are closest to you.. enormous sorrow.. these people i respect so dearly so angry – Cory

59 min – ed in

1:01 – how do you change people’s minds – Paul   arguing – good will and willingness to spend the time – Cory

1:03 – diff between relationship never having a fight and one where all diff come to mutual understanding – Cory

1:04 – most frustrating thing in argument.. that other not only disagrees w you but also with something you’re not saying – Cory

1:05 – my possession of the (piece of art) is you not having it – hard to imagine how we could overcome – Cory

having and being ness – a nother way via 2 convos.. as the day [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

this is the invisible magic

the river why – gus connection law

1:12 – on – not changing people’s minds.. but changing what they do about it – Cory

1:14 – can’t outrun it anywhere – Cory

1:20 – actually ed back.. cut off.. when saying.. being born from treason.. and.. this is the fundamental liberty..

what liberty really means.. to act w/o permission.. freedom from permission.. – Ed

1:23 – we’ve lost those undiscovered spaces.. and the true frontier space .. people discovered.. not undiscovered.. but unregulated.. ie: when do things that jeopardize riches people in society.. how to make this a post scarcity not in terms of resources but in terms of days to live – Ed

1:24 – when we have no unexplored spaces today.. is our frontier spirit more about invention/ideas that is about the physical location where we occupy.. what would you say is the frontier today.. – Ed

1:25 – hard to talk about frontiers w/o talking about power relationships they always embody – Cory

1:26 – i don’t know if i want to recapture that frontier spirit .. always involves erasure.. i think if there’s a place people think not everything has to be mandatory or prohibited today.. it is around the periphery of tech.. we still have this idea of federation of networks.. don’t need to agree on everything in order to cross connect.. across boundaries.. can do radically diff things – Cory

io dance ness

federalist view – very utopian.. can disagree about almost everything.. but have two separate parallel experiments.. – Cory..

1:28 – the immortalities is a mcguffin – able to say whatever you want – Cory

1:29 – the mcguffin of immortality.. the positional good – when you have something that others don’t.. when that becomes widespread.. some people interpret that abundance as a bug and not a feature – Cory

1:32 – nature of rights.. don’t need to justify them.. they are for the most vulnerable among us.. to property/opinion/speech.. not necessary if you are ie: mark zuckerberg.. a general.. if you have access to resources/power… but for people who don’t have much.. are a little diff.. have radical ideas.. these are the people for whom rights matter most w/least capability to defend them.. these are the people who make our society good.. make the world move forward.. status quo don’t drive progress.. – Ed

1:34 – privacy isn’t about something to hide.. but to protect.. space for self/ideas.. w/o haunting.. if happen to be bad.. try them in a space.. – Ed

spaces of permissionnothing to prove.

1:35 – arguing for privacy because nothing to hide.. like arguing for freedom of speech because have nothing to say – Ed

1:36 – this system should be improved upon in a radical way w/o asking permission.. – Ed

what is the route for reform

graeber model law

1:37 – ability to form groups and work together  – Cory

find people via 2 convos a day..

before.. if wanted to work together.. had to what for others to catch up et al..

what internet has done is given us this fluid improvisational style – Cory

1:38 – ability to have the form of coming together for a good bake sale but to work on a wikipedia..the problem of forming groups has always been esp hard for opposition groups.. because all..

opposition groups pay a very high institutional cost – have to not only find people like them.. but keep the existence of the group something like a secret

if not from govt itself.. maybe from people they don’t want to disclose their political affiliations or heterodox views to.. ie: gay liberation.. needed to be in the closet and then find other people in the closet.. but then figure out a way to work together to argue that you should all be able to come out of the closet without necessarily coming out of the closet.. that was a really hard project – Cory

1:39 – the ability for us to find people like us.. very cheaply.. online.. esp heterodox views.. *is playing out around us..  in ways that run as an absolute counter to the increased oppressive surveillance/control/hierarchy that we’re seeing at the state level.. for better or for worse.. – Cory

*let’s focus on that .. let’s free 7bn.. up for that.. we can.. we have the means.. a nother way

1:40 – fearful for future.. when two rub up against each other.. – Cory

is it that.. or is it that we have that freedom.. but after hours.. so it’s not us accessing the freedom.. ie: like us sitting on couch because we’re tired.. so more might use it for not human nature stuff..

i’m just saying.. the partial ness is what’s killing us.. and keeping us from us.. and this invisible magic.. as you say

1:59 – we haven’t paid attention to how people feel when they try these other things.. ways that make people happy and not just busy – Cory

this again is the partial ness killing us.. it’s perpetuating exhaustion/defense/ et al

i’m for building a world that beggars our imagination – Cory


walkaway review by npr

“The point of Walkaway is the first days of a better nation,” says one of Doctorow’s characters. Says many of them, actually. That’s the recurring belief-system on which the book runs. It is the story of precisely this — what comes after the slow-burn apocalypse we all secretly fear is coming, how it will work, how it will all go wrong and how it will get made right again with drones, wet printers and elbow grease.


walkaway via google books

In a world wrecked by climate change, in a society owned by the ultra-rich, in a city hollowed out by industrial flight, Hubert, Etc, Seth and Natalie have nowhere else to be and nothing better to do. But there is another way. ..

a nother way


Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi: “walkaway & the Collapsing Empire” | Talks at Google

8 min – the likelihood of a world where 99.9% are total bastards (because people saying this also include.. except me and everyone i know) .. and everyone that you know isn’t .. is really low.. it’s much more likely that the people around you are a rep sample (of world) and that they have the dual nature of humans.. on a good day rise.. on bad day regrets..

9 min – solved by people who run to the middle.. not to the hills

10 min – walkaway is a story about people who are consciously trying to form societies that fail gracefully instead of societies that work well..

a nother antifragile way

and that they’re trying to use.. the coordinated latent power of tech to get there rather than thinking about tech as a thing that helps us manufacture/communicate.. they’re thinking that about it as a thing that lets us at our labor one to the other.. even if we don’t all agree on what needs to be done.. [do what we do and leave a trail – whether it’s used or not]

hlb that io dance

11 min – rather than sit down and have someone tell us all what to do .. we all do what we think needs to be done and we have a tool that lets the parts of it that are useful glom together

gershenfeld sel rather than supposed to ness.. as the day [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

mech simple enough

there were a lot of people who didn’t want wikipedia and gnu for 1st 10 yrs.. and they were really right for first 10 yrs.. that’s the amazing thing.. jimmy wales: it is a complete disaster in theory it only works in practice

graeber model law

12 min – thing for solving disputes: forking

fork to the limit of idio jargon

18 min – the likelihood that the thing you want to do won’t be tolerated and you can’t find anyone to do it.. that’s a pretty low likelihood

2 convos would drive likelihood to nil

19 min – we could use coordination to simply shunt around resources..we could realize these new efficiencies..

mech simple enough

really challenges notion that you can’t have infinite growth in a finite world.. infinite growth implies you don’t have any kind of process automation.. don’t have any changes in what people want.. but there doesn’t seem to be any bottom in sight to how many few tons of steel you can put in a car

ginorm small ness via holmgren indigenous ness

20 min – most interesting in sci fi.. take a tech phenom and see if it can be extracted from its social/econ context and whether it still works..

deep/simple/open enough.. sans irrelevants

23 min – on banks’ focus being more on manufacture than coord



Bad news: tech is making us more unequal. Good news: tech can make us more equal.…

how to use technology to attain those goals

gershenfeld sel

ie: hlb that io dance via 2 convos on mech simple enough


Cory – letter to w3c [] from eff

“Effective today, @EFF is resigning from the W3C.” – good to see someone has principles #DRM; time to boycott @W3C?

Original Tweet:


WIRED UK (@WiredUK) tweeted at 3:37 AM – 21 Sep 2017 :

The open web needs all the friends it can get, especially in these dangerous times by @doctorow (


review of Tim O’Reilly‘s wtf (which made my frustrating book list.. hoping this read will help)

Thanks, @doctorow, for the forgotten memory of that P2P working group meeting, and for the best review of my book that I’ve read yet. It’s wonderful to read a review that is not a rehash of the content, but a vaulting forward of the argument!

Original Tweet:

A book that tells us how to keep the technology baby and throw out the Big Tech bathwater

can love the sin hate the sinner


thurman interconnectedness law

WTF? is a book about technology as it was, as it is, and *as it could be. It is told from the perspective of someone who has been personally present at the most important moments in the fast-paced history of tech, and who played a significant role in those moments. It’s a rare and important piece of criticism that inspires even as it dissects.

*this is what i found most frustrating about the book.. i think we’re missing what it could be.. big time.. and perhaps.. precisely because we’ve still got that hierarchical format for listening.. ie: you can’t hear me.. we need tech to listen to all voices (of alive people.. the mech has to also wake/detox us up) w/o judgment.. and facil that

we’re missing tech as it could be..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


David Mihalyi (@davidmihalyi) tweeted at 5:12 AM – 5 Jul 2018 :
Defo not the usual take on why ‘data is the new oil’ by @doctorow . (

Cambridge Analytica didn’t convince decent people to become racists; they convinced racists to become voters.


Laura J. Mixon (@LauraJMG) tweeted at 6:01 AM – 28 Jul 2018 :
Cory @doctorow lays down some hardcore truths. (

son of an asylum seeker, father of an immigrant (@doctorow) tweeted at 7:24 AM – 27 Jul 2018 :
Science fiction sucks at predicting the future, but it sure is good at predicting the present (c.f. @greatdismal): that is, the stuff that seems plausible in science fiction at any given moment is a good source of insight into what’s on our collective minds. (

Lots of people have noted that the fear of AIs taking over the world (especially when evinced by the super-rich) is really just a tell that capitalism has spawned transhuman, immortal colony lifeforms that use humans for gut flora (AKA corporations, AKA “slow AIs”)

But today I’d like to discuss another tell: the trope that when there is some kind of disaster, your neighbors are coming for you, that we can expect arson and carnage the moment that society’s guard-labor levels drop below a critical threshold.

Obviously, this is not true. If you and everyone you know are pretty much decent people who sometimes do dumb or bad things, it’s statistically likely that you know a representative sample and that means it’s very, very unlikely that 99.9% of the world are total bastards.

For more, read Rebecca Solnit’s magesterial, vital, crucial history of selflessness, nobility, and elite panic during disasters, “A Paradise Built in Hell”

To understand this, consider a related trope: the prison riot. When we encounter a story about life in prison, it’s not hard to understand why the prisoners riot the instant the guards’ attention wavers.

Those stories are at pains to establish that the prisons are not good for the prisoners. They exist to punish the prisoners, not to rehabilitate them. They are basically slow torture chambers, designed to inflict misery on the prisoners.

Prisoners set fire to the cellblock for the same reason that a galley slave would sink the ship where they have been chained to an oar for years. Whatever beneficial purpose the ship serves for its owners, for the rowers, it is an instrument of torture. I’d sink that ship too.

Back to the idea that The Event will precipitate total destruction of society and all its physical plant. That doesn’t make any sense if you think of people as being served by society: water, sanitation, food, education, safety and security

But if cities are slow torture chambers for their inhabitants, it makes perfect sense.

If, for example, cities fund themselves by manufacturing petty infractions to charge poor people with, arresting them when they can’t pay fines and putting them to hard labor…

Or if rents are too damned high and your debt mounts and mounts, or if you spend all your time cowering in fear of a one-star review on your gig economy app, or….

If you face license-plate cameras, CCTVs, gait recognition, predictive policing, facial recognition, school-prison pipelines, etc…

You’re living in a city that exists to control you, not to help you realize safety, security, shelter, dignity, etc.

Which is, of course, totally, blindingly obvious — and also completely outside the Overton Window. No one in (e.g.) the Democratic establishment (and certainly not in the GOP) is willing to talk about this naked class warfare.

doctorow city as prison law:

But it comes out in our collective dreaming. If you think of cities as prisons for poor people, then The Event riots make perfect sense — they’re just another version of the prison riot. Completely plausible. #ElitePanic

As Leonard Cohen once noted: “Everybody Knows.” Everybody knows we’re in a state of class warfare, but we dare not speak that aloud. Instead, we whisper it in our fiction, and nod our heads in recognition when it’s said.


‘m heading to #BurningMan! (here’s where to find me)
Original Tweet:


Rob (@robjg) tweeted at 2:38 AM on Sat, Sep 08, 2018:
This article from ⁦@Doctorow in ⁦@locusmag⁩ is a must read for anyone interested in big tech.  It’s more than just regulation on tax that’s the problem.

sept 3 2018 article – Big Tech: We Can Do Better Than Constitutional Monarchies

it’s not enough to do something: we have to do something good. And we’re getting it really wrong.

Here’s the most utopian thing I believe about technology: the more you learn about how to control the technology in your life, the better it will serve you and the harder it will be for others to turn it against you..t

more utopian.. tech that gives everybody something else to do (gershenfeld something else law).. making inspectors of inspectors and monopolies of nonlegit data (ie: of whales in sea world) .. irrelevant

The most democratic future is one in which every person has ready access to the training and tools they need to reconfigure all the technology in their lives to suit their needs..t.. Even if you personally never avail yourself of these tools and trainings, you will still benefit from this system, because you will be able to choose among millions of other people who do take the time to gain the expertise necessary to customize your world to suit you.

most democratic (or whatever) is tech listening to every voice/everyday

tech as it could be: hear legit/basic needs

 In an ideal world, we’d make rules about what data Facebook could gather and what they could do with it –..t

in an ideal world.. we’d change what data is gathered ie: not from whales in sea world

ie: self-talk as data

Con­stitutional monarchies are bullshit. The democratic alternative is to give people control over their tech­nological lives ..t..  – to seize the means of computation and put it into the hands of everyone who wants it.

constitutional monarchies could be irrelevant.. if the alt was to listen to all the people.. everyday


doctorow and paywalls

Bill Thompson (@billt) tweeted at 3:18 AM – 22 Dec 2018 :
There’s a lovely story behind a paywall here. I really wish that this was made clear… (

Ryan Thomas (@RyFish) tweeted at 3:35 AM – 22 Dec 2018 :
@billt It might be just me, but @doctorow is the very last person I expected to find behind a paywall @newscientist (


I love this story ‘cos it sets blows away the cobwebs about tech giants being clever-clever. Uber is just an app that anyone can copy. They & their regulation-free arses should be shown the door all over the world.

Original Tweet:

disruption for these but not for me article:

 If the driver and I both had the co-op app, our apps would cancel the Uber reservation and re-book the trip with Meta-Uber.. This Meta-Uber service would allow for a graceful transition from the shareholder-owned rideshares to worker co-ops

There are a hundred other Metas we can imagine: a Meta-Amazon that places your order with the nearest indy bookstore instead; a Meta-OpenTable that redirects your booking to a co-op booking tool.

Every single one of these co-ops would disrupt a digital monopolist who came to power preaching the gospel of disruption. ..But we never get to bring those lumbering relics down, not so long as felony contempt-of-business-model is still in play..t..  in America. Until then, disruption will always be for thee and never for me.

This is a powerful argument by @doctorow on how digital technologies have the latent possibility of structuring many producer and worker organized cooperatives but are prevented by Silicon Valley financialization.…

by any financialization

graeber f&b same law


Exceptional keynote from @doctorow – take the time to watch it
Original Tweet:

how does something everyone is using become something no one is using.. thru erasure

whether or not genocide is involved.. the grift always involves paperwork ..t 

14 min – the commons is for us to use together w/o permission from or benefit to a multi national corp..  it is anti grift.. t

16 min – the fact that all these take place on line.. doesn’t mean we’re all part of the entertainment industry

17 min – if we make the rules easy enough for her to follow (his neighbor who wants to write fan fiction) .. they will be useless to universal and time warner.. and if we keep them useful to time warner and universal..  we guarantee that she will be a lawbreaker with every interaction with culture that she has.. t

when everyone is violating the rules all the time we are all being primed to be grifted.. it’s a grooming technique to make victims for grifters.. because we self police.. we bow before any censorship attempt that contains the word copyright because we know in the back of our mind that we are all copyright criminals..t

18 min – i know copyright because i’m part of the entertainment industry.. but you shouldn’t have to know copyright .. you shouldn’t have to understand.. body of law just because you’re doing culture..

the grift even wants to steal the law.. ie: aaron; carl – on wrong side of law over and over.. because he has temerity to publish the law so we know what it says..


doctorow property law



Marlene Harris (@readingreality) tweeted at 6:00 AM – 18 Mar 2019 :
A+ #BookReview: science fiction Radicalized by Cory Doctorow #scifi @doctorow @torbooks (

thanks library

1\ unauthorized bread: tech/legalities/bureaucracies.. can’t hack b so slaves


this was new kind of taster, a toaster that took orders, rather than giving them. a toaster that would giver her enough rope to hang herself, let her toast a lithium battery or a can of hairspray, or anything else she wanted to toast: unauthorized bread. even homemade bread..


she read the fine print. it was something she’d learned to do early in the refugee process..sometimes immigration officers quizzed you on things you’d just clicked thru


the bureaucrats she never saw who rejected her paperwork for cryptic reasons she could only guess at, and the bureaucrats who looked her in the eye and rejected her paperwork and refused to explain themselves..


when he said who me .. it made her realize that she’d been bursting w secret knowledge that she’d wanted more than anything to share..


he hook his head, shrugged. ‘i guess i don’t know. i just want to understand how can it be against the law to choose your bread but not your socks? what makes a toaster different from shoes?


taking charge of the techs around her, the ones that were used by those distant and faceless forces to take charge of her


i’t not the bread that’s copyrighted, it’s the software in the toaster, all the stuff we change when we jailbreak it…. and the copyright, that the code w’ere changing. so if it has code in it, and there’s an access control, you’re not allowed to change the code. even if it belongs to you


salima almost laughed. it was a crime if she did it, a product if they sold it to her. everything could be a product


but you didn’t need to translate computer code to get it to run o f diff computer. instead, you could write a computer program that was, in effect, a computer itself.. this was the ‘virtual machine’ and imaginary computer inside another computer..

2\ model minority: oppression/justice.. can’t get justice so lay low

3\ radicalized: healthcare/cancer.. can’t afford treatment so die and encouraged to die early to avoid debt.. and/or shoot/bomb/prison


you know what happened next. their insurer told lacey that it was time for her to die now. if she wanted chemo and radiation .. they’d pay it.. (reluctantly  and w great bureaucratic intransigence) .. but ‘experimental’ therapies were not covered..



‘so there are other men who’ve had to see their babies and their wives and their friends die, and it makes them go crazy , and so they go and kill people who work for the bad guys who made the dr so expensive’ (explaining to his daughter)


‘i think the bad guys are worse than the guys w the bombs. the guys w the bombs are just punishing the bad guys for killing their kids’ (daughter responds)

4\ masque of the red death: death/bomb shelter.. storing up.. keeping people out.. still dying


that’s what markets did: they moved fallow, underutilized assets out of the hands of the incompetent and moved them into the hand of their betters, who put those assets to work..


this was an ‘adjustment period’ tow words that sounded bloodless and bureaucratic, but which described the chaos that would reign while the unnecessariat were eased out of existence and humanity realigned itself around the strongest and brightest that evolution could select

at the same time, he couldn’t help noticing just how many of the smartest people he know had the same color skin as him


witnessing the ruins of the store and gas station had convinced them that they were smarter and better than the idiots out in the world who hadn’t made the same kinds of prep



thanks for inspiration to matt taibbi, the eff, alex steffen and the outquisition,.. and everyone who fights for justice: #blacklivesmatter, alexandria ocasio-cortez, erica garner, bernie sanders, and the millions in the streets. this isn’t the kind of fight you win, it’s the kind of fight you fight

matt, steffen-outquisition, blm, alexandria,


.@doctorow’s thoughts on legislating technology (based on historical precedent!) lay a foundation for achieving  “a more pluralistic, decentralized, diverse Internet.”
Original Tweet:

interoperability is an important piece of the puzzle

hlb via 2 convers that io dance..

It’s clear that online services need rules about privacy and interoperability setting out how they should treat their users, including those users who want to use a competing service.

gershenfeld something else law


Matt Anderson (@MattAndersonUT) tweeted at 11:00 AM on Thu, Sep 12, 2019:
A smart city should serve its users, not mine their data by @doctorow via @lilianradovac

article sept 4 2019

The system doesn’t ask you how you feel or what you want: it tries to guess based on what you’re doing..t

based on what whales in sea world are doing

Humans are excellent sensors. We’re spectacular at deciding what we want ..t .. for dinner, which seat on the subway we prefer, which restaurants we’re likely to enjoy and which strangers we want to talk to at parties.

perhaps we’re spectacular at deciding things.. but not what we really want.. not at our fittingness..  which is a huge part of the problem.. begs we focus on curiosity over decision making

A phone that knows about you—but doesn’t tell anyone what it knows about you—would be your interface to a better smart city..t

ie: 2 convers as infra tech as it could be..

The city’s systems could stream data to your device, which could pick the relevant elements out of the torrent: the nearest public restroom, whether the next bus has a seat for you, where to get a great sandwich..t

rather .. local people that are curious about the same thing as you.. everyday anew

To date, most work on customization has focused on centralizing data from people’s activities and making predictions based on that data.. t

so like data from whales in sea world rather than ie: self-talk as data

Imagine if customization happened at the edges rather than in the middle. Your device could present you with a list of possible things to do ..t.. and ways to do them without telling anyone else about it, because, frankly, it’s none of their business. You then choose what to do, and your device gathers feedback to help it improve its suggestions in the future. You become the intelligence, acting on your behalf, expressing your unique human ability to comprehend the world.

deeper.. let go of finite set of choices.. it’s killing us.. keeping us from us

rather.. device listens to your daily curiosity and uses as data to facil local connections that matter

ie: tech as it could be..


Well worth the read
Original Tweet:

@locusmag: “There’s a name for societies where a small elite own property and everyone else rents that prop­erty from them: it’s called feudalism.” A new article by @doctorow!

sept 2 2019 article

the business priesthood told us that we must not be tempted by its promise of infinite distribution of all hu­man knowledge at no cost. Any technology that let the “consumers” of information goods do more with the books, movies, games, and music they bought would not be a boon, because it would destroy the markets for media, including the markets that had us buying our music in a new format every couple of years, the markets that required libraries to re-purchase their patrons’ best-loved books when they wore out, and so on.

Despite the fact that no one ever went to a store and asked for a book that would wear out quickly or a music format that would be obsolete in a couple of years, we were told that the limitations of the physi­cal world were, in fact, happy accidents of virtuous matter, whose limitations allowed for all kinds of “innovations,” like selling you an album on vinyl, then 8-track, then cassette, then CD.

Using digital to subvert this cycle of renewal – to allow instant, free access to all human culture for all humans – was a sin in market religion’s doctrine. But the priesthood did have an orthodox, virtuous use for digital: they wanted to use digital tools to enable new markets, markets that never could have existed in the world of dumb matter..t

The problem with markets is that selling things is inefficient.There are so many people who don’t need the thing, just a momentary use of the thing:..t

begs we truly let go of property ness which includes making money-(any form of measuring/accounting) our planned obsolescence..

the right to read a book today, but not to own it forever; to use a snatch of a song as a ringtone, but not to put it in your music library; to pull a video clip out of a movie to use in your student project, without having to buy the movie.

and inhumane

We gave up on owning things ..t.. – property now being the exclusive purview of transhuman immortal colony organisms called corporations – and we were promised flexibility and bargains. We got price-gouging and brittle­ness.

well.. we didn’t really give up on owning things.. that is key.. this is fractal to misunderstandings of tragedy of commons

we have to do it 100%.. unconditional.. or it won’t work

hardt/negri property law et al

Professors are offered substantial bribes to select the most expensive texts, and high-performance digital tools make it easy for publish­ers to make minor alterations every year or two so that earlier “editions” of the text are no longer in synch with the professors’ lesson plans, making used books effectively worthless.

strike debt

Or libraries: libraries often pay higher costs for ebooks than they do for print books, and on top of that, publishers impose ridiculous conditions on the ebooks they sell to libraries, like making them self-destruct after a few lendings (Harpercollins) or just not making ebooks available to libraries at all until the hardcover is no longer a new release (Tor). Again: like print books, only worse. And more expensive.


There’s a name for societies where a small elite own property and everyone else rents that prop­erty from them: it’s called feudalism. ..twenty years on, DRM is revealed to be exactly what we feared: an oligarchic gambit to end property ownership for the people, who become tenants in the fields of greedy, confiscatory tech and media companies, whose in­ventiveness is not devoted to marvelous new market propositions, but, rather, to new ways to coerce us into spending more for less..t

key isn’t to ie: get property back or tweak the market/money.. key is to come up with a nother way to live.. for everyone (small elite and everyone else).. won’t work.. we can’t dance.. unless everyone is in sync

ie: 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be..


Alberto Cottica (@alberto_cottica) tweeted at 4:44 AM – 3 Nov 2019 :
Wow, we can’t get over the video message we received a few weeks ago from Cory @doctorow, to explain his participation in the Sci-Fi Economics Lab. Video:
Info: (

11 min video

in that ringing silence you realize you have so much more in common with the people around you.. t

ai humanity needs.. augmenting interconnectedness

the business model for saving the planet.. is that the planet gets saved.. everybody has a place.. t


cory on predict\able ness

un1crom (@un1crom) tweeted at 2:52 AM – 30 Dec 2019 :
“I make no claim to predicting the future. I make up stories. Stories are better than predictions: predictions tell us that the future is inevitable. Stories tell us that the future is up for grabs.” -⁦@doctorow⁩ is wise.


Andrew Knighton (@gibbondemon) tweeted at 5:15 AM – 28 Jan 2020 :
Unsettling & insightful stuff from @doctorow about the future of smart cities & our place as sensors. Tech companies are pushing hard towards this, so it’s worth being aware of, & also seeing hope in the alternative vision he offers. (

Imagine a human-centred smart city that knows everything it can about things.. What it doesn’t know is anything about individuals in the city.

It knows about things, not people..It is a city and a technology and a government oriented around its people, designed to treat people “as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else”..t

then it should focus more on human beings connecting w self/others.. so that when they want/need to connect w/things.. it’s not coming from what they’ve been told/taught they want.. ie: whales in sea world

imagine a human centred city that listens to every person’s daily curiosity and uses that data to augment our interconnectedness.. saving a ton of energy/resources/souls

ie: cure ios city with 2 convers as infra via tech as it could be..


Jean M Russell (@NurtureGirl) tweeted at 4:10 PM on Sun, Aug 23, 2020:
Read the whole thread please.
Tldr: meritocracy is a big lie. Super BIG. LIE. A circular logic absurdity.

If you can convince people that wealth is both earned and deserved, you can save a lot on armed guards, vaults and CCTV cameras. The aristocracy once used the church to effect this legitimacy: as the English crown’s motto goes, “Dieu et mon droit” (“God and my right”). 3/

At its core, “meritocracy” is eugenics: the belief that some people are just intrinsically better than others (that’s why you often hear plutocrats boasting of their “good blood” – think of Trump here).

merit (meritocracy)


cory on surveil capital


part of thread on homeless ness, ubi, et al

We need a powerful progressive alternative: grounded in caring, universality, and repairing the Earth. Direct transfers, housing first, and a jobs guarantee are policies that work:
* Need money? Here’s money.
* Need a home? Here’s a home.
* Need a job? Here’s a job.

Original Tweet:

even deeper

et’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

w/ubi as temp placebo.. needs met w/o money.. til people forget about measuring

ie: cure ios city as org/infra/data


attack surface


cory on ai


via mark after m of care – nov 18

@monk51295 @nikadubrovsky
re: who is in charge of our technology
Original Tweet:

“In truth, Luddism and science fiction concern themselves with the same questions: not merely what the technology does, but who it does it for and who it does it to.” — @doctorow
Original Tweet:

These new machines could have allowed the existing workforce to produce far more cloth, in far fewer hours, at a much lower price, while still paying these workers well.. Instead, the owners of the factories — whose fortunes had been built on the labor of textile workers — chose to employ fewer workers, working the same long hours as before, at a lower rate than before, and pocketed the substantial savings.

There is nothing natural about this arrangement.A Martian watching the Industrial Revolution unfold through the eyepiece of a powerful telescope could not tell you why the dividends from these machines should favor factory owners rather than factory workers..t

there’s nothing natural about dividends and factories

we gotta get out of sea world first.. meaning.. we have no idea what legit free people are like.. hari rat park law et al..

We’re living in quite a Luddite moment, as it happens. Many of us are contesting the social relations surrounding our technologies: should we continue to subsidize big agriculture? Should our cities continue to be organized around cars? Should tech giants be permitted to continue to gobble up each other and their small competitors, reducing the internet to “five giant websites, each filled with screenshots of the other four?” (to quote Tom Eastman).

all whalespeak

Luddism is the key to resolving the tension in some of our most important labor and technology debates. . tFor example, labor economists have long decried automation as “de-skilling” — a way to decompose skilled labor into a series of easy tasks, which weakens the bargaining position of workers by allowing employers to replace them more easily.. t

perhaps key to resolving tension in sea world

The difference between de-skilling and democratizing isn’t what the gadget does — it’s who it does it for and who it does it to. Imagining new ways of arranging those factors is profoundly science fictional..t

not profound enough.. we need to tech to help us org around legit needs.. via a means to undo our hierarchical listening.. something for all the scales and all the people


twitter convo between cory doctorow and vinay gupta

@leashless @VladZamfir @mattereum I wish you all the luck in the world with your project. It sounds genuinely laudable. I will continue to ask the central question about it: “Does the method for incentivizing participation undermine the social factors that will determine its success?”
Original Tweet:

perhaps thinking we need incentives is a red flag..(to undermining ness)

need: means to undo our hierarchical listening so we can org around legit needs

@doctorow @VladZamfir @mattereum @avalancheavax Getting rid of oligarchy while leaving behind a functional society is extremely difficult, dangerous, and unpredictable work.
It’s far harder than replacing one oligarchy with another, which *functionally speaking* is what the blockchain is doing right now: “throw the bums out.”
Original Tweet:

not difficult.. we just aren’t listening deep enough to see it

predictable is the dangerous thing


cory on pirates