WHAT HAPPENS AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT?
Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.
— Marshall McLuhan
Xi Jinping visits Moscow to see Putin.
Putin is in an active war with Ukraine.
Trump will allegedly (he of course alleges this himself) be arrested today (March 21, 2023).
Multiple banks have failed, and the Fed claims more are at risk.
Fed is printing a lot of money.
It turns out a lab leak is the most likely cause of Covid-19. Oh wait, it isn’t. Oh wait… Oh wait…
We’ve released the latest and greatest set of AI tools.
The list goes on.
The past couple of weeks have been perpetual aftershock. Those shockwaves live in said “active interplay”.
Once you recognize that our tech-state provides a speed of light environment, and we have the portals in our hand, everything changes.
Bank runs start with a tweet…
Thank you ChatGPT4 for this explanation on what happens if you hit something while moving at the speed of light.
Even more… based on the theory of relativity, if an object without mass (such as a photon) were to travel at the speed of light, it would not experience time and would be located everywhere in its path simultaneously from its point of view.
We are getting closer to light. Man is electric… our constantly emerging relationship with software makes this a daily truth. And thus our behavior (an object without mass?), in these environments proves explosive, instantaneous, +++ lacking any definite location (clouds and algorithmic feeds).
Let’s look at two examples that I find interesting of this happening recently.
The world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum, where everybody gets the message all the time. A princess gets married in England and boom, boom, boom go the drums and we all hear about it. An earthquake in North Africa, a Hollywood star gets drunk...away go the drums again. I use the word tribal, therefore, advisedly, because electric information devices are increasingly tribalizing the human race.
— Marshall McLuhan
Everything feels like getting your eyes checked. Better 1, better 2? Better 3, better 4? At a certain point, you’re picking which blur you prefer than any solution. Maybe just put them all down… bitcoin, ethereum, ar, vr, ai, neuralink, let the banks collapse, let the war rip, have the self-driving car go straight into the back of the automated big rig.
We are entering the everything, everywhere, all at once stage of humanity right now…
SILICON VALLEY BANK + BALAJI’S BET
Bank has record deposits. They put that into boring stable bonds sold to them by the Fed. Fed changes interest rates. Balance sheet starts sliding the wrong direction. Bank tries to shore up cash. VC’s [redacted], founders pull cash out at the click of a button. Bank get’s wrecked.
$40B+ in deposits, moved at electric speeds.
And more moves are made, to close another bank (Signature)? Credit Suisse gets bought for $2B??? Bitcoin is going to $1M in 90 days???
I hated finance at Wharton, but I still know enough to look at more of the underlying psychology here vs hard numbers.
This is a speed-of-light problem.
There is no more “burying the lede” in an always on information economy. A footnote will get found (eventually) by someone with a loud enough account. And where previously there were discussion and debate and a pursuit to truly know… that isn’t rewarded in the mixed reality status game of social media.
BROADCAST → ACT → BROADCAST AGAIN → WATCH MORE ACT OFF OF YOU
Followers follow… that’s the point.
I reference this a lot in private, but I don’t think I ever have in my writing. One of my favorite artifacts of the early 2000’s is the idea of “Reality Based Communities”.
The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.
Suskind in the New York Times Magazine
Where Balaji possibly blew it, was saying the quiet part out loud too soon. He’s being too rational about it. He slowed down the network light and showed all the players where they were.
The bet was better off being a rumor, perpetuated by others, that he made this during a classic SF house party. Building the lore of the thing. While the corporate financial world continued to tumble and the Fed continued to print.
Instead, every play is out in the open. One could act against his Bitcoin bet. While yes, it generates attention and he trends and accrues some form of desired status — it hinges on, the problem with so many crypto narratives, collapse. But the fear of the apocalypse is the perfect horizon for McLuhan’s electric tribalization mentioned before. And thus, right or wrong in the initial window, Balaji still emerges as a sort of Snowcrashian FOQNEs founder.
Unfortunately… collapse has mass. SVB and other banks will continue to show this. While you may be acting from the nothingness that is the cloud — you still have mass when you rest your real head on your real pillow.
We’ve put so much faith into software we forget that we live in the terraformed reality that software brings on. It’s the push of a button for an UberEats order that leads to homie on his electric bike almost plowing me on the sidewalk. One would think folks that live in SF know about the local change they bring on… but that’s another piece.
There’s no conclusion to this chunk of the piece.
VC’s caused the SVB bank run, regardless of mismanagement, they pulled the trigger. We can say that out loud, it’s healthy. It’s a byproduct of electric speed. It exposed the rest of the network. I’m sure we’ll all be watching how fast it can go. Balaji believes it’s 90 days before the rapture… but that’s always convenient to say from inside the cathedral.
For what it’s worth, I bought a little extra Bitcoin. And I want to be clear that I think a government distributed digital dollar is absolutely terrifying level of big brotherness. That would be the speed of light working against us in the biggest way…
US GOVERNMENT MISSES OPENAI
According to a June 2021 podcast interview between Ezra Klein and Sam Altman — in an attempt to remain nonprofit, OpenAI sought investment from the US Government but they weren’t interested. Subsequently, they converted their organization classification to a for-profit and raised significant investment from Microsoft and others.
The difference between China and the US in terms of technology investment. This is not our parent’s DARPA anymore. The big bets are not being supported.
The US Government is living in the rearview mirror.
China is spraying and praying, playing “Sims Nation - YC Edition”.
While the US government is re-building some type of opinion on technologies like TikTok or nuclear energy. It is still relegating itself to trying to edit history.
In my essay ROLE: CREATIVE DIRECTOR || COMPANY: USA, I talk about vision / being a visionary — as a practice of isolating the senses. You can’t go off your memory or choose to hear other’s opinions on why it won’t work… you must cast your sight beyond that. America has lost this ability.
What is the view on AI, or will we be having congressional hearings where they ask Sam Altman → “Why did you make OpenAI a for profit organization?” Sam replying, “Congressman, you literally rejected my pitch to keep it a non-profit.”
Either some secret Apollo like project is developing government managed AI to the level of OpenAI → or we have to now live with the consequences of OpenAI balancing a profit incentive. Additionally… we must, at least for some time it seem, deal with the economic barrier of powerful AI being out of the purchasing (and thus usability scope) for a portion of our country.
I’m going to go on a $1M bitcoin bet and say that the Apollo project of AI is not happening within the government today. And it’s proven true over the years, as we know that the most recent advancements in shooting rockets into space (SpaceX) and even defense contracts for specialty drones (Anduril), have been driven by private technology.
Like I ended the previous section. The interest in a digital dollar is the government wising up to moving at the speed of light… but in the worst way…
What China does correctly, is create the conditions for the speed of light to happen. Investing across it’s visions, and being tapped in. What it does wrong… obviously… is disappearing Jack Ma for months because he was moving to fast (or something).
It is existential the US returns to a policy that creates the conditions for vision.
Instead we’ve politicized towards an anti-technology sentiment that is far off the visible goal of general progress. Why? Because of interface tension. Both the mass media and government have to operate and communicate to the public through an interface that is not their own… and has flattened them to be equal to, well, Balaji.
Never have we had the media is money is power is narrative is ~interchange them all~ dynamic that we have today.
This is the new battleground when we are in the light field. Away from the mass of an SF townhouse or the halls of Congress. Where the footnote cuts the string that was holding the hammer that was positioned over the big red button for some reason.
The electric revolution is not a revolution of technology. It is a revolution of thought.
— Marshall McLuhan
I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.
Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.
Live in the light