Meet the Worldbuilders

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Get to know the community!

Here is where co-creators of Witness get to know one another. Anyone can join - all you need is to create an account for this platform here, and to leave a comment below telling us a little about yourself…

What interests you? What are your background, your skills? Are you planning a specific contribution, and you need help? Are you willing to help others? A fun way to get into a building mindset is to imagine yourself as a social scientist of Witness. The dominant social science in Witness is called aethnography. Aethnographers come in three flavors: theors, who revel in high theory; augurs, applied analysts; and incanters, the doers who make the businesses, government institutions and civil society organizations of Witness run. Which flavor do you feel closest to?

Hello all, I am Alberto. I am an economist by training. I studied environmental economics in London in the 100s, and was part of the “market instruments to solve the environmental crisis” wave. It failed very badly, and made me very dissatisfied with the dominant economic paradigm. I retrained as a network scientist (which is the subject of my PhD thesis), and developed a strong interest for complex systems science and economic anthropology. I am the research director of Edgeryders.

Aethnography is the social science I have been waiting for all my life! I used to work as an incanter for government, but these days I am mostly an augur, with relatively strong theoric interests.

I also used to be a minor rockstar. I quit now, with occasional relapses.

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“Say ‘friend’ and enter”… My name is Phillip Tussing. I am an economist teaching at Houston Community College in the United States. For the last couple of years I have been researching and writing a book on the macroeconomic systems embedded in classic science fiction, from the late nineteenth century until 1969, when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. I have looked with an economic lens at socialist scifi, a Georgist scifi book, Heinlein’s early nearly-lost Social Credit-based book, early 20th century feminist science fiction, various books based on the genetic manipulation or evolution of humans, robots, Utopias, Dystopias, Proudhonian Mutualism, Conte’s Positivism, Libertarian scifi – the whole range.

My flavor would be somewhere between low theor and systematizing augur, I suppose. I’m not committed politically, though I don’t have much respect for full-fledged Socialism – I’m interested in what might actually work. I would be willing to help people with fundamentals, such as the likely incentives and consequences of a given model from my perspective, and possible fixes for failures of your system (every system has pretty big flaws).

I look forward to working with you!

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Welcome then, Philip. There is dire need of more and better economists – sorry, that would be theors and augurs – than me to tighten the screws of Witness’s economy. Care to help with a consistency check? At the time of writing, I see the most need in Hygge and the Avantgrid.

Hi, I’m Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. EDIT: in keeping with classification, I would be a theor-incanter hybrid.

I am mostly a science fiction writer and [sometimes] editor from Sri Lanka. In that field, I have a Nebula Award nomination, a couple of novels out (Numbercaste (Social Credit!), The Inhuman Race, The Salvage Crew). I also have written several short stories, one of which, in July, should be heading to the lunar surface on board the Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander.

The other hats I wear are interlinked - I work as a data scientist at LIRNEasia, a public policy think tank operating across the Global South. In this we look at great theoretical ideas and think okay, how is that useful to the poor and the underpriviledged here? How do we pull that off? Can we do it with public data and limited resources? A lot of my work has been around social networks and linguistics - particularly misinformation and hate speech, and producing millions of words for corpora for resource-poor languages. All of it is public goods.

I also co-founded and operate a factchecker, Watchdog. We’re a tech-heavy, volunteer-run op that launched after the recent 2019 bombing in Sri Lanka, racked up a couple of hundred thousand users with a bunch of Google Sheets, several thousand Redbull and some Electron-JS coding. There’s a lot of interplay between LIRNEasia and Watchdog; we’re testing machine learning for misinformation classifiers as an AI+human collaborative effort and open-sourcing the Watchdog platform.

I am generally more of an intellectual mercenary/magpie. I do not posses formal training - I dropped out of high-school and worked various odd jobs while teaching myself how to code and write, which I see as interlinked - language is a way of denoting concepts and the relationships between them, and Python is just as useful as English. Since then have explored quite a lot through Coursera and edX (I put myself through six hours of learning a week, since 2012, so this very slowly adds up).

I am obsessed with Garry Kasparov’s AI + human framing as a way of making art, instead of the usual boring AI vs human stories. This is a common thread that runs through both my fiction and nonfiction.
The Salvage Crew was written, in part, by first writing a series of programs to do the worldbuilding for me - from generating a galaxy as an Erdos-Renyi graph to a simple Markov chain telling me the weather on each chapter to a retrained Open-AI GPT-2 running on translations of my favourite Tang Dynasty poets.

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Eae galera, my name is Joriam Ramos.

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro and most recently unleashed upon the world, I’m primarily an incanter with enough luck to be positioned in the middle of a quiet, but rippling revolution that’s happening in the world.

I’m the Catalyst for Enspiral, a trust-based community of meaningful work seekers. It’s quite literally an experiment with the future of work, my position is pretty unique. I’m a leader-servant in a community that really takes care of me.

I’m also a writer, videomaker and game designer. I’ve created a game about powerful conversations and (in a rather augur way) I run a youtube show about great worldbuilding what it can teach us.

I’m very excited about collective intelligence aspect of the project — and I have a network that can both contribute to the theory and storytelling of everything. Also quite excited to imagine new forms or education, art and expression for the future of mankind.

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Sæl og blessuð. I’m Hugi - I have a very hard time defining myself (excuse me, my millennial is showing) but I will try. Here are 11 facts about me.

  • I was born in Iceland, grew up in Stockholm, and lived in China for a couple of years in my very early adulthood.
  • Most of my life and work has been in co-created and participatory settings. In fact I often joke that I have no idea how to do anything else. By this point I have been a central node in participatory art projects and festivals, participatory politics, co-created placemaking, open-source software development, open networked companies and even dabbled with a co-created religion.
  • I grew up watching everything from Start Trek to Farscape, and reading everything from Stephenson to Le Guin.
  • At 15 I moved to Kiruna to attend space high-school.
  • I sometimes develop software and do data analysis.
  • As one of the co-directors of Edgeryders, I am also an admin of this platform and responsible with by fellow directors for keeping the lights on.
  • I am a recovered rational skeptic and now readily resort to both tarot and magic when the situation requires.
  • One text that has influenced me immensely is the essay (and book) Meeting the Universe Halfway by Karen Barad.
  • I studied biotechnology engineering and bioinformatics at university.
  • I co-founded and co-manage the community center Blivande in Stockholm.
  • I have kept a playlist for 20 years, adding my 10-20 most listened songs from every year. As I’m 32, this goes back to the pre-mp3 era and I had to retrofit the first few years from mixtapes I remembered when I compiled it the first time.

Up to now my biggest contribution has been proposing and fleshing out the distrikt of Avantgrid, as well as building the website and doing outreach for the project.

As an aethnographer I am mostly an incanter, with an interest in the art of the augur.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: On Hygge, ergodicity economics and Risk Bushido

5 posts were split to a new topic: On Hygge, ergodicity economics and Risk Bushido

¡Hola a todos!

I’m an undergraduate student of Aethnography; just today, I’ve got my first instruction on REDR. I’m so stoked to continue my training and learn more!

Ok, a little bit about me, I respond to the name of Arturo. I’m an earthling. Before moving to Witness, I have lived in Spain, Perú, and Sweden. Nowadays, I live in Stockholm, and I work remotely designing and building highly available distributed systems.

I hold a master’s degree in computer science, and my interests in that field are many: compilers, languages, distributed systems, network protocols, opensource software, operating systems, cryptography, cryptocurrencies, etc.
I’m quite influenced by the vibrant philosophy of writing and sharing software from the '70s. Those romantic hackers lighted up the flame of the open-source movement (GNU, Linux, etc.) and imbued my heart-mind with some hippie-ness.
I currently don’t work with open-source projects, but that philosophy has opened the door to participatory culture to me. Perhaps, that is how I ended up living in a communal house with 50 other individuals, participating in burning-man inspired events, or sharing office space with both intellectuals and artists at Blivande in Frihamen.

I have many other interests, perhaps not as developed as my career interests (I used to be a workaholic), but I’m catching up little by little. Among them, I like to sketch, draw, paint, write, or build stuff. Any creative endeavor that sparks a thought of a project interests me.

With regards to Witness, right now, I’m exploring the city, learning about it, and with this post starting to contribute to it. I haven’t planned any particular thing or action I would like to do yet. But I’m feeling for using Witness as the background and setting for future artistic projects. For instance, I’ve been fantasizing for a little while about the idea of making a short movie. Perhaps Witness becomes the setting for this short film. Let’s see where I end up.

Regardless of the outcome, I wanted to praise the work you’ve put on this and thank you for setting the Witness foundations. I’m looking forward to exploring more, learn about the districts, and perhaps contribute with some entries in the Witnesspedia.

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Welcome to Witness! I think there’s tons of cool stuff you can add here - for example, the Microgrid Collective feels like it would be right up your alley. You’ll run into them in entries all over Witness, including the Assembly and the History of Witness, but we don’t know much about them at the moment. Want to help us discover more about them?

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Welcome then, @darkturo!

That’s the spirit. I was just thinking that Sun Tzu is at the natural intersection of REDR and Risk Bushido, eh, @yudhanjaya?

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Totally. If Sun Tzu had been an economist he’d have been the godfather of the field.

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Let’s take this one step further: The Art of War is game theory, but non-ergodic. Good commanders are conservative, because they know there are no parallel universes in which to re-run the campaign with some changes: if they suffer a serious defeat in this universe, all is lost. This is also a nice intuitive example of non-ergodic thinking (which Peters, annoyingly, would call “ergodicity economic thinking”). @petussing would like it, I think. :slight_smile:

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Sun Tzu is one of my heroes - up there with Macchiavelli

My name is Frank. I am a public administration professional with a broad experience in the field of strategic policy as well as public management. Besides that I am a transitionist with a degree in leisure sciences. As kid and young adult I was brought up on a steady diet of writers like Shakespeare, Kafka, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Harris, Terry Brook and Frank Herbert.

Upon arriving in Witness, I was classified as an incanter with a strong augur drive although I can thoroughly enjoy a theors discussion, especially in the field of community-empowerment, sociology and state.

I would be willing to help people with insights from sociology, transition- and leisure sciences. Simply put, predicting what pushes people into action and how to gear energy towards sustainable change. Besides that I am wandering around in Witness’ history and present to look and describe hidden disruptive elements in each Distrikt as I believe that each new balance and order will – in the end – bring forth its own disruption.

Looking forward to work with you all.

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Welcome to Witness, Frank! There’s a lot of sociology (and narratives around transition) that we’ll need your help with. In fact, we’re just sorting out a fork right now.

You’re referring to Hygge?

He is, Frank. Early days Hygge split in a social-democratic distrikt (market economy; aggressive redistribution, with economic inequalities a top problem; and a Modern Monetary Theory approach to running public expenditure and the currency) and a full planned-economy distrikt à la Red Plenty. Problem there is: can we imagine a social and economic asset whereby people would accept top-down economic allocation, even when that allocation is not the one they desire?

This is a static-vs-dynamic problem, by the way: it is easier to imagine a planned economy that works reasonably well, and most people accept it on those grounds, than to imagine it being introduced, and being accepted before it has a chance to work reasonably well for most people most of the times.

Merhaba esteemed knowledge tourists,

I’m Eireann, a risk by way of cyber crime researcher.

It’s hard to fit in these boxes, but I see all the rest of you trying to explain your past, and it gives me courage to try.

I was a early entrant poison ivy school dropout in Psychology and Philosophy in the 90s. I tried my best, but ran out of money for education in Bush’s America. So I drifted in the ‘You can’t win’ tradition across the USA as a dishwasher and landscaper, through the rust belt and my twenties.

I got a grip and a rucksack and tried my British (European at the time) passport on for size with a move to Scotland (maybe again?) at the turn of the millenium. There I retrained in Engineering and AI, with a focus on security for energy systems. I have a deep love of distributed and highly resilient infrastructure that tempts me to be an incanter, but I am probably on the border of augur and theorist.

I am an armchair economist because studying hacking and cyber crime have forced me to be. I have not yet turned my hand to writing fiction, but I do write essays and academic papers, and once a book on cyber risk.

I will be keen to think about alternative models of infrastructure provision and economics. How can citizens run and fix and innovate their own infrastructures? Electricity, water, sanitation, telecommunications, transport…all so centralised, and often non-participatory, fragile, opaque, invisible. How could it be different, and funded differently?

In my spare time I worry about the environment, forage, work an allotment, and practice natural navigation and hiking. I’m a parent of a SEN child, and a bilingual toddler, so let’s be honest: I don’t have spare time.

I am still learning.

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