I’m pretty nervous about the 2020 elections. We’ve seen a lot of little deepfakes here and there. And I suspect it’s not going to surprise you to say that I’m worried that things are going to get far far worse and far more nuanced.
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Today we face many highly complex challenges both nationally and internationally. From security of our information networks, to planning for and managing natural disasters, to emergence of new infectious diseases, to social and political conflict throughout the world, these challenges are messy, and highly interconnected.
You might be more comfortable thinking about deploying math and code as your tactic, but I want to talk to you about the full suite of tactics that we use to effect change in the world. And this is a framework that we owe to this guy Lawrence Lessig.
The interesting phenomenon related to the RSA algorithm and is not shared with some of the other algorithms is it is useful for both encryption and for digital signature. That is they are two distinct uses and this single algorithm is useful for both of those. And there’s an amazing and somewhat interesting story that then develops from that.
People think that the Civil Rights Movement and all big epochal movements involve conscience, and they do. They also involve consciousness. I mean, you can’t struggle against what you’re unaware off, right? The Klan as the iconic carriers of violence, the Bull Connor of the iconic southern white male resistance, George Wallace the iconic neopopulist racist. You know, these were historic figures in myth and reality. But we wouldn’t get to what they represented till much later.
This is a moment to ask as we make the planet digital, as we totally envelop ourselves in the computing environment that we’ve been building for the last hundred years, what kind of digital planet do we want? Because we are at a point where there is no turning back, and getting to ethical decisions, values decisions, decisions about democracy, is not something we have talked about enough nor in a way that has had impact.
I don’t want to live in a world where ISIS is scarier than hackers, especially in 2016. We previously held the title in 2013, ’14, and ’15. And to be honest I was a little bit disappointed when I saw this result. So I thought I’m in my 40s now, there’s a lot of young hackers in the audience, and I’m not going to pass the baton to you guys unless we have that number one spot back in our pile.
Today, in America right now, we only can think of growth in quantitative terms. And in a resource-constrained environment, how frickin’ stupid is that? You’re actually imposing your own death sentence by not being able to get over the grip of this quantitative dynamic.