Vault_Cover025In this 48th episode of the C-Realm Vault Podcast, KMO plays a portion of his recent conversation with Tom Barbalet that did not fit into C-Realm Podcast 369: Apes in Silicon. In this segment, Tom talks about the problems he sees with Ray Kurzweil’s poetic notions of consciousness simulation. Later, KMO and Olga discuss their recent jaunt up to Long Island City to visit a MoMA PS1 event in the Dark Optimism series.

5 comments to CRV048

  • Sam

    Ted Nelson is upset that there are many incompatible standards. That’s the root of his “racial purity” analogy. If license A says “you can share derivative works only under license A” and license B says “you can share derivative works only under license B” and A and B have incompatible terms, then you can’t create a derivative work from one work licensed under A and another licensed under B.

    That’s actually a common gripe among technologists, but there are two reasons to be sad about incompatible standards:
    1. There are costs associated with incompatible standards, and it would be good if more things played nicely together
    2. The fact that there’s more than one standard means people aren’t using my preferred standard for everything (or possibly, as the case may be, anything)

    The Wikipedia article on Project Xanadu really says it all. Founded in 1960, first demo in 1972, (still incomplete) implementation released in 1998.

    Nelson is angry that Silicon Valley geeks didn’t stop to work on his grand vision (or even develop any sort of grand vision in collaboration with him, or hardly even develop any sort of grand vision at all). They just went ahead and made stuff. It must seem seem unfair that “geeks” can have so much more influence on the structure of technology than visionaries like him just by going out and creating crap that “works”.

    • KMO

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your perspective. You make Ted Nelson’s case far better than he does. That said, there’s nothing in the Creative Commons share alike license that prevents someone for contacting me and asking for my permission to use my work in some project that won’t be distributed under the same license. The Creative Commons license I use only describes the uses that people are welcome to make of my work WITHOUT having to discuss it with me first.

      Thank you for your on-going support of the C-Realm. The next road trip will be a NE regional trip and WILL include Boston. See you then.


      • Sam

        there’s nothing in the Creative Commons share alike license that prevents someone for contacting me and asking for my permission to use my work in some project that won’t be distributed under the same license

        That’s not true for works further down the chain, though. You can share your work however you want, even if you license it CC-SA. But someone who makes a derivative work based on your work can only* share it under the CC-SA license.

        Yes, someone could get your permission and the permission of someone who made a derivative work to create a new derivative work under other terms, but this becomes increasingly impractical as you go further down the chain, especially since a CC-SA derivative work could be derived in part from more than one CC-SA source. Since Nelson is imagining entire genealogies of derivative works, it’s not surprising that he finds “but I could give someone permission to use the work in other ways” largely irrelevant to the drawbacks of CC-SA.

        * That’s not quite accurate, since content licenses like CC-SA are layered over the standards set by copyright law, and copyright law provides some cases where creators can use existing content without the owner’s permission. But those exceptions can be pretty weak. And in any case, Nelson is looking for a single standard for using existing works, so the fact that content licenses like CC-SA are layered on top of copyright law and jurisprudence in a way that mitigates some of the problems of each probably strikes him as dreadfully insufficient.

        The next road trip will be a NE regional trip and WILL include Boston.

        W00t! :-)

        • KMO

          I don’t remember if I played this on the podcast, but Ted Nelson introduced his opinions about Creative Commons by saying that Creative Commons is putting lipstick on the fact that you are giving your copyright away. He proudly stated that all his books are protected under full copyright and that he gets paid for them. He dreams of a universal scheme where all works are available for use in derivative works but in which the original author always gets paid. His criticisms of Creative Commons seem to shift between an unfavorable comparison to full copyright and an unfavorable comparison to his ideal vision of micro-payments to authors coordinated by his Xanadu scheme. He doesn’t like CC because the Share-Alike license doesn’t allow completely unlimited use of one’s work by others, but it’s a lot more permissive than the straight-up copyright that Ted Nelson uses with his published writings. Sure, CC doesn’t include a micropayment architecture that automatically ensures that creative types get paid, but compared to an unrealized utopian dream, any actual system will fall short. The fact that the actual compares unfavorably to an unrealized ideal does not justify invoking the language of racism, eugenics and ethnic cleansing to characterize Creative Commons. The worst part was that when I asked him to cash out his metaphor, he couldn’t state his position without using the phrase “racial purity.” It just kept spilling out of his mouth. For him, it had ceased to be a metaphor.

          • Sam

            Yeah, he doesn’t like CC-SA because it’s incompatible with his scheme in particular, not just because it’s incompatible with other schemes in general.

            He has a hard time understanding why someone doesn’t see incompatibility with his sort of scheme as a big drawback because he doesn’t recognize all the reasons why his scheme is crap. (Reasons related to the reasons why it took him 38 years to go from concept to released code that’s only somewhat broken.) It’s not really a good idea to have a system that needs technical infrastructure to track every act of quotation.

            eugenics and ethnic cleansing

            That’s not quite the inflammatory metaphor he’s using, though he’s certainly going for inflammatory.

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