Data donor cards

I propose we create a new category of consumer. The way we do that is by some of us announcing that we are, in fact, consumers of this new type. I propose that some number of us (myself included) proclaim ourselves to the world (on the public record) that we the type of consumers who #VolunteerInformation. In the spirit of free software embracing both “free as in beer” and “free as in speech” (or free as in freedom), I want the world to know that by “volunteer” I mean both “volunteer as in voluntary” and “volunteer as in unpaid.” The latter provision is every bit as important as the former, as I believe that monetization necessarily implies value subtraction (or at least the delivery of diminished value by the imposition of artificial rivalry and excludability). For such consumers as myself (and hopefully I can recruit numerous others) it would be ideal if clinical facilities have easy access to our “data donor cards” as well as any “organ donor cards” we may or may not have. Perhaps open data licenses, like open software licences, can come with some restrictions regarding proprietary use, or at least require publication of findings in open access journals. Perhaps a data donor card itself can be rigged in such a way that “reading” the card automatically triggers data transmission into the public realm, sort of like some of those cop-cam apps that supposedly share video in real time. If there can be a data donor card for clinical use, why not for point of sale use and perhaps other uses?

Of course there are privacy concerns, but let’s all step back three feet and recall why privacy is of value in the first place. Here’s a hint: It’s not of value only to those who “have something to hide.” For most of us it’s most likely to be of value when we have reason to “play our cards close to the vest,” such as negotiating things like wages or prices. Well, guess what? The business community (in this context it really is that monolithic) already knows your “price points” and “pain points,” and the location of all the “cliffs” in your own personal many-dimensional “utility function.” After all, a business doesn’t have to be a “tech giant” to have purchased enough “data products” from “HR consulting firms” or “marketing consulting firms” to have a decisively advantageous level of #InformationAsymmetry relative to a mere individual. Even if you’re applying for a job with a small business, you probably had to sign away your privacy rights as part of the process, and your life is an utterly open book to them already. Privacy is already a lost cause, and the reasons are rooted in technology and not amenable to legal reforms. Thinking about it in terms of opportunity cost, whatever privacy you lose (donate!) to the public domain has already been lost to the data silos. Plus you get to stick it to the man, at least in a small way, by diluting the exchange value (which exists only due to exclusivity) of the data confidentiality you’ve already lost to the proprietary version of knowledge discovery.

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Stingray devices and the seeming paucity of civilian countermeasures

Kevin Collier: This Is How Many Stingray Devices Exist in Trump’s America

Surely there must be at least the theoretical possibility of a warchalking technique capable of differentiating spoofs from legit transponders. Are there still people who apply hacker ethic to solving technical problems, though? It seems we’re living in very careerist times, in which activities that aren’t monetized are activities that simply don’t take place.

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Post-autistic economics meets the competition ethic

There’s workplace accommodations for disabilities, but making extroversion (“excellent communication skills”) no longer a prerequisite for employability (in virtually any occupation) would be pulling the thread that unravels the whole fabric of capitalist society. That’s my pet hypothesis, anyway.

I don’t have anything against extroverts. I’m just sick of extroversion being the ticket of admission, even to the occupations people think of as nerdy. It’s like Lake Wobegon. All the children are above average, and all the employed adults have excellent communication skills. Sounds like a broken society to me.

I think the HR-sphere gets it about portfolios of skills, but currently in a way where a portfolio that doesn’t include communication skills is basically unmarketable regardless of what things it does have. Any skill adds value to a skills portfolio, but communication is the one “make or break” skill.

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Quotebag #118

Gail Tverberg:
Unfortunately, Adam Smith was right; there is an invisible hand guiding the economy.
Mike Konczal:
Those that would trade decommodification and worker power for basic income deserve neither.
Choice is a fuzzy concept.
The obsession with IQ is one of the great irrationalites of the rationalsphere.
Rick Falkvinge:
The way governments want to tap all money flows in order to fund itself is not entirely unlike how the surveillance agencies want to tap all information flows in order to have an information advantage.
Heather Marsh:
Society without science, and without an effective way to integrate epistemic communities, will always be a society dissociated and easily controlled.
Eureka Springs:
A couple generations is probably not long enough to learn how to shake off puritanical, neoliberal shackles. And if we allow the old company store to take a big/jig revenue stream for far far more than they are worth… like banks, credit cards, payday loansters, prison profiteers, cable and telcos and pharma, insurance, etc do today… then we are just plain stupid indeed.
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Maybe I’m a high modernist

I became aware of the terminology “high modernist” by reading Scott Alexander’s review of Seeing Like a State by James Scott. Scott A:

But the High Modernists were pawns in service of a deeper motive: the centralized state wanted the world to be “legible”, ie arranged in a way that made it easy to monitor and control. An intact forest might be more productive than an evenly-spaced rectangular grid of Norway spruce, but it was harder to legislate rules for, or assess taxes on.

Now I have no desire to be anyone’s pawn, but I desperately want to live in a world that is legible. It just occurred to me that that is the central reason I came up with the idea of pubwan, a central reason I came up with the idea of anagorism and, now that I think about it, probably what I really would most like to do for a living, to think of as not just a livelihood but a calling, is work to increase legibility of the world. I wouldn’t want to be a party to the kinds of scorched-earth policies described by J. Scott and Scott A., so it looks like I have to look elsewhere for a professional calling, which is sad, because I’m really fresh out of ideas as to how I might make something of myself.

I want to know why legibility enhancement has been as problematic as it has been. The following possibilities occur to me:

  • legibility is inherently problematic, and therefore I am a bad person for wanting it
  • legibility would have been good for humanity had its promoters not sold out and worked in service to the state
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Quotebag #117

Paul Ford:
The entire world of emulation is filled with references to very specific things that you should not seek out, that you must never Google, that you should definitely not obtain.
If suffering proves absolutely necessarily for conscious and intelligence, then at that point I’d conclude it’s best to just wipe out life entirely. (I’d share this insight and commit suicide.) I doubt that’s the case. We can engineer superior motivational structures.
Scott Dunn:
Advertising. I avoid it whenever possible because I consider it garbage for the brain.
Richard C. Longworth:
What is the purpose of an economy? If it is not solely for the well-being of the people who live within it, what is an economy for?
Liberals think that life is supposed to be a positive experience, and that when it is not, that is a problem for society to address and (if possible) fix. Conservatives think that life is supposed to suck, and that if you’re enjoying the experience too much, that is a problem for society to address and (if possible) “fix”. The whole “comfort kills careers” meme is the tip of that iceberg.
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Effective altruism

I’ve largely reached the conclusion that the agenda of the effective altruism movement has a phase one which consists of gradually adding effectiveness to altruism, at some point to be followed by a phase two which will consist of gradually subtracting altruism from effective altruism. Basically, effectiveness is to effective altruism as efficiency is to neoliberalism as paper clip is to paper clip maximizer.

If effective altruism is actually a program of gradually replacing altruism with effectiveness, it would seem to be a similar strategy to the one that the think tank machinery of free market ideology has used, first to phase out political economy as a subject of study, then to phase in so-called public choice theory. Basically their agenda is to frame political science as a branch of economics. I don’t doubt they plan to enclose sociology and anthropology much as they have political science. Basically, in their view there is economics, and then there are bullshit “disciplines” pretending to be social sciences. But the economists at the think tanks are hired guns. There will always be paying gigs for those willing to speak power to truth.

As everyone who knows anything knows, the efficiency of free markets is unassailable, but can the incomprehensibly superior ability of the market mechanism to calculate maximum resource allocation, be harnessed in service to criteria of efficiency that are person-weighted, rather than dollar-weighted? I’ve seen no evidence that it can, but happily, as of yet, no conclusive reason it can’t. Whether I’m a soft anagorist (advocate of building the new allocation mechanism within the shell of the old) or a hard anagorist (basically, market abolitionist) hinges on the question of whether it turns out market calculation can also optimize person-weighted criteria of efficiency.

When it comes to EA’s, it seems their highest priority goal is reduction of extreme poverty. I can think of no more appropriate goal, as that is also the primary goal of the school I’m rooting for, which is negative utilitarianism. Where things maybe go off the rails, is that at least some EA’s conclude that the thing they can do personally that best serves EA goals is to earn as much money as possible. Maybe my life would be more comfortable if I were capable of believing that. Then again, maybe at some point I will decide to become a true believer in wealth being the only answer to poverty, and fail to thrive in the market economy anyway. I would sure as hell feel used if I were to dedicate myself to the money grubbing process out of a conviction that filling my own cup is a prerequisite for helping fill others’, only to find that my new-found conviction and dedication does not in itself add enough competitiveness to my job search that I actually start landing impressive job offers.

Likewise, there’s a certain horror at the prospect of maybe the economists being right about economics being on a sound empirical basis (in ways the other social sciences are not). After all, if economics is really a science, my rejection of the body of economic theory constitutes a form of science denialism. Maybe I’m no better than the global warming denialists. But observe how many economics non-denialists are global warming denialists. The money backing much economic research appears to be partison (in Newspeak, nonpartisan) money. For now, I stand by anagorism. Whether hard or soft remains to be seen, for a little while.

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