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The coming robot apocalypse

The coming robot apocalypse

Posted Sep 13, 2012 9:31 UTC (Thu) by spaetz (subscriber, #32870)
Parent article: The coming robot apocalypse

The fact that *code is the new law* has been wonderfully expressed by Lawrence Lessig since the last century. A pity that he has moved on to other endeavours nowadays.

Lessig, L. (1999). Code and other laws of cyberspace. New York: Basic Books.
Lessig, L. (2006). Code: version 2.0. Basic Books. Retrieved from

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The coming robot apocalypse

Posted Sep 13, 2012 13:06 UTC (Thu) by bfields (subscriber, #19510) [Link]

I've also found James Boyle's 1997 article Foucault In Cyberspace has helped me think about these things.

The basic idea as I understand it: the fight to keep the net free from Big Brother has tended to miss the more subtle but more effective strategy of putting enforcement in private hands:

If one saw these technological transformations as mainly a threat to both the copyright owner and the enforcement power of the state, how would one respond, particularly if one took seriously the difficulties in policing that the Internet trinity points out? One would try to focus on building the regime into the architecture of transactions in the first place -- both technically and economically -- rather than policing the transactions after the fact. Thus one might seek out private actors involved in providing Net services who are not quite as mobile as the flitting and frequently anonymous inhabitants of cyberspace. In this case, the parties chosen were the Internet Service Providers. One would pin liability on them and leave it up to them to prevent copyright infringement through technical surveillance, tagging and so on, and to spread the cost of the remaining copyright infringement over all the users of their service, rather than all the purchasers of the product in question.

By enlisting these nimbler, technologically savvy players as one's private police, one would also gain another advantage; freedom from some of the constitutional and other restraints that would burden the state were it to act directly. Intrusions into privacy, automatic scrutiny of e-mail, curtailing of fair use rights so as to make sure that no illicit content was being carried; all of these would occur in the private realm, far from the scrutiny of public law.

The coming robot apocalypse

Posted Sep 17, 2012 1:43 UTC (Mon) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> A pity that he has moved on to other endeavours nowadays.

I believe that Lessig saw that things aren't going to change (for long) if another problem weren't fixed first: campaign funding[1].


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