I sang NOFX’s The Decline on stream last week, and one line really stuck out to me:

Place a wager on your greed, a wager on your pride
Why try to beat them when a million others tried?

And I thought about this a lot. If I want to beat them, something will have to be different. Any tactics I use will have to be ones that were unavailable to the masses of people thinking about the problem throughout history.

Andrew Breitbart has the classic line “politics is downstream from culture”, so if you want to change politics, you first change culture. Seems quite true, especially in any manufacturing consent style “democracy”. To quote Moldbug:

The root problem with a state church in a democratic state is that, to believe in democracy, one must believe that the levers of power terminate with the voters. But if your democracy has an effective state church, the actual levers of power pass through the voters, and go back to the church. The church teaches the voters what to think; the voters tell the politicians what to do.

So the obvious solution seems like the construction of a better church, to compete with Harvard and the New York Times, perhaps one more oriented toward truth and less toward “status”. But I think this is a futile project in the long run, at least without changing human nature. I went to a wonderful high school started by brilliant people with great intentions; I look at who runs it now, and well…perhaps we call it “bureaucratic capture.” You can’t swim upstream forever, entropy always pushes back.

Besides, that was a solution available to everyone in history. Surely I am nowhere near the first to propose a church based on finding Truth, the past contains people far more serious and committed than I will ever be. I will never succeed at changing culture by trying to compete on an existing playing field. I need disruption.

I google the phrase “culture is downstream from technology” and of course I’m not the first to say it.

We live in a world with very few sovereign countries today. The amount of complexity and interdependence is insane. I recall being in a hotel in Italy with my Airpods on, and the hotel clerk asked me if I liked them because he was thinking about buying a pair. I replied I did, while wondering why there were no Italian Airpods. Or even stupider, why there was Uber Eats in Japan?

So what technologies would increase the number of sovereign entities? You’ll hear weird libertarian claims of individual sovereignty, but then you look at where their food and clothes come from, and it almost always isn’t true.

How many people in the world today are successfully living completely “off the grid”? How many of those are doing so with a modern standard of living (HVAC, toilets, washing machine, computer, etc…)? Most countries aren’t even capable of that!

Seasteading is a perpetual failure. Because unless you are on a cruise ship or high end yacht, life on the water is awful. And those boats have super heavy dependence on the land, so much so you need to be very rich to operate one.

I know a lot of people want to go to Mars, but would balk at the idea of living on the North Pole. Life at the North Pole might suck, but the air is breathable and the water is drinkable! It is so much more hospitable than Mars. In fact, most people would find Albert, Kansas inhospitable; you have to drive 22 minutes to get any food!

Post-scarcity was a concept discussed a lot in the Occupy Wall Street era. I guess I started to realize this idea in a more incomplete form earlier, with the ecromata slogan being:

we will abolish scarcity; there will be nothing for them to steal they can’t have for free

But that’s the goal. Make completely independent living nice, easy, and with 0 recurrent expense. Open source life. Recurrent expense is how society traps you. At first the machines you need to do it can be made in the default world, but eventually the decentralized world should be able to expand in a decentralized way.

Succeed at this, and we’ll have something that wasn’t possible since the agricultural revolution. Individual sovereignty is a technology problem.

How do you build AI systems capable of independently fighting entropy? It’s harder than self driving cars; aka we can solve self driving but still not know how to do this. Though I’m not sure it’s a ton harder, and if we can do self driving in 10 years, perhaps we can do this in 20. I have a good bit thought out on the technicals, but this blog is more of an idea notepad than anything else.

Besides, the technicals aren’t the hard part, the structuring is. It’s making sure what you do build is for the right purpose, and won’t just be feeding the criminal corrupt machine that has flourished for millennia.

The singularity will happen, whether it’s negative or positive depends on the choices we make in the next decades.