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Technological Agorism Part III: AI & the Agora

There are two types of artificial intelligence: the rules-based, & the neural network-based approach. To illustrate the differences, I'll borrow an example from AI blogger Janelle Shane's book, You Look Like A Thing & I Love You, & pretend we're training an AI to recognize dogs.



Using a rules-based approach, we’d create parameters which the AI would then use to determine whether or not the thing it’s looking at, is in fact a dog. Our rules would include things like “must have four legs” & “must have tail,” etc. When all of our conditions have been satisfied, the AI will recognize a dog.

With a neural network-based approach, we show the AI images of dogs & it learns to recognize patterns. The more pictures of dogs we show it, the more accurate the AI becomes. Nowadays, this is usually the preferred approach & will be the subject of this article.

The interesting thing about the neural-network approach to AI - as we’ve already noted, is its reliance …

The State vs. The Entrepreneur




“Exchange is the lifeblood, not only of our economy, but of civilization itself. 
- Murray Rothbard

At lunch time, a few years back, I was sharing a cigarette and a cup of coffee with this gentleman outside the tattoo store I was shop-keeping at the time. A guy with dark hair, intense eye with wrinkles in the corners, always with this disarming smile that made everyone comfortable. It was a Tuesday and window-cleaning day.

After our chat and drinks he grabbed his equipment and started to clean the giant windows of the tattoo shop. Soap and water did its magic, making the air smell clean and letting the intense sunlight seep in just a tiny bit more in the waiting room. The buzzing noise from a tattoo machine from downstairs humming in the background.

After his work was done I put couple of notes in his hand as payment and the gentleman was off to the next window to clean after having consulted his notebook on the next location.

Fast forward a year and a half and I had a new job as a bar manager in a restaurant a few blocks from where the tattoo store was located. The restaurant had big, beautiful windows facing a green park with a miniature waterfall and people walking their dogs. They also face car traffic and dusty sidewalks that made them really dirty.

But I knew just the remedy for that. That rough-looking guy could help us solve this problem. I left my number for him in a few of the places I knew he washed windows for. A week or so later we were slumped down in a chair each outside the restaurant and he had a new place to add to his routine in his notebook.


This urban nomad was practically untraceable. All his dealings were in cash, receipt-less, off-the-books and free of bank-meddling. This is the sort of business the banksters, bureaucrats and politicians cant control and it drives them nuts. You can't collect fees or tax on it. You cant stuff some lobbyists pockets with the earnings of a window-washer that operates with just a bucket and a paper-ledger.

This is the reason for the War on Cash. [1] But, as the government-machine tries to figure out how to restrict cash-supply for the common people and gather more control and restriction, sticking their noses in things that doesn't concern them (sniffing out revenue for their state-projects and salaries), the digital nomads is already a step ahead and is experimenting with internet-based money.

"The Black Market was a way to get around government controls. It was a way of enabling the Free Market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people."
- Milton Friedman

Two 12-year old boys decide to set out on an entrepreneurial adventure in western Norway. They got a boat, summer vacation and a whole sea full of crabs in front of them. Their business plan is simple: Catch crabs, cook them and sell them for 100 Norwegian Kroner (about $10) per kilo. After having successfully sold to friends and family, they decided to code a website and posted a number you could call to order your very own, authentic Norwegian crab. [2]

Their very first call was from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries telling them they were doing something illegal and promptly shut them down. They had to delete the web page and cease to sell crabs immediately.


After a little tango with the bureaucratic system they got permission to fish and one of the boys dad would help them out with the paper work needed to stay out of trouble with the authorities: They have to register sales of crabs and following their local price guide for minimum sales prices.

Two 12-year old boys are now part of a complex, detail-controlled system that has pushed up the prices for fish on the market by 78% [3], an increase that has made consumption of seafood insanely expensive - And this is happening in a nation with a deep tradition of fishermen and where seafood is an important source of nutrition. In a nation that is famous for its salmon and has developed a way to grow their salmon efficiently by inventing a procedure that could be exported to other corners of the world. [4]

I have put these two stories side by side so you get a feel for the evil lurking beneath the surface and how easy it is for it to involve itself in your life.

"The state, rather, is a parasitic institution that lives off the wealth of its subjects, concealing its anti-social, predatory nature beneath a public-interest veneer.” - Lew Rockwell


--- Alex Utopium, editor for Utopium.blog.
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[1] A Topic that Ron Paul has tackled often, a good listen is on his youtube channel: The War on Cash is a War on Liberty - Let's stop it!

[2] This story was published in one of the largest newspapers in Norway, Aftenposten. You can read the article here (story in Norwegian).

[3] Statistics from the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy (the numbers can be viewed here, in Norwegian). Meat prices, by comparison, has only increased by about 10% during the same 20-year period.

[4] Paul Greenberg goes into the details of this in his book "Four Fish". You can read my review of this curious book here.


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