radical networks, day 1

my brain is spinning from day 1 of the radical networks conference. caio from francis’s “designing digital communities” class was there, along with several itp folks. dhruv introduced me to his wonderful friend andy who taught himself how to code, developed a project that helped get resources to people in the wake of hurricane sandy, and now does network stuff for disaster relief. he’s about to go to berlin to work on a project related to the refugee crisis there. i also met someone who was wearing an AMC shirt and it turns out they do really neat work with the open technology initiative.

it was such a pleasure to be in a space with more than a token few queer and trans folks, women, and people of color, where people were asking good, big questions. this is who i want to work with. i’m really looking forward to the second day of the conference tomorrow.

here are the talks i went to today:

“We will be discussing the human element in developing alternative communication networks, primarily community mesh networks. Looking at importance of local soft infrastructures in establishing and sustaining networks. Drawing from our 3 month journey, experiences and insights as non technical people diving into mesh networks in NYC and beyond.” letsmesh.nyc for more info

“The zeal with which humans develop and implement new communications networks is matched only by their ability to forget the legacies and mistakes already made building past networks. Ironically, at least in the U.S., most of our communication networks build atop the remnants of those past networks. This talk will offer a series of ghost stories about the politics, personalities, and ideologies that continue to haunt our machines, and how our new networks might live with or at least keep the ghosts at bay.”

  • caught the end of social justice warrior network, by dan phiffer

“Who believes that any of the current tech start-ups, awash in easy venture capital, have any chance of disrupting fundamental problems like income/wealth inequality or climate resilience? Let’s join together to build social software optimized for political solidarity rather than Monthly Active Users. It’s okay to keep sharing cat pictures, but we can do a better job collectively pursuing real political outcomes. Let’s embrace the label “social justice warrior” and begin living our digital lives as if the revolution has already happened. There are wicked problems that mainstream politics (and existing social networks) may simply be unfit to solve. What kind of network infrastructure would actively facilitate radical change? Why not start building it now?”

  • a history of building new systems on the wreckage of the old, by edward vielmetti
  • i will follow you into the darknet, by a bunch of people
  • a thing about nyc mesh, “a community-owned wi-fi network”

in conclusion:

A photo posted by @ken_jagan on

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