13 , 2005
| Post-Script: The Swarm Manifesto
I spent the last week touring around Australia's two biggest cities,
with one message on my mind, repeated to anyone within earshot:
the audience has taken control. I used many stories, from "This
Land's" epidemic spread across the net last fall, to the ascendance
of Wikipedia, introducing and reinforcing one idea: the audience
is starting to exhibit a truly unique emergent quality - swarming.
Predicted a decade ago by Kevin Kelley in Out of Control,
we've finally caught up with the future. We have protocols which
allow us to swarm our data (BitTorrent). We have websites which
allow us to swarm our knowledge (Wikipedia). We will no doubt soon
have some evolution of social networks which will allow us to swarm
The battle continues unabated. Today the MPAA shut down the six
most obvious TV torrent sites on the Internet. It's true. You go
to their web pages, only to find that they've been pwned.
And yet, as I type this, I am getting a torrent from one of these
sites, even though the BitTorrent tracker, the one central, fixed
and therefore vulnerable element in the system, is down, down, down.
This shouldn't be happening. Yet it is. With the latest and greatest
update to Azureus, a popular BitTorrent application, the torrent
trackers themselves have been given over to the swarm.
1. What's new in Azureus 188.8.131.52
1.1 Distributed Database
Azureus now has a distributed, decentralised database that
can be used to track decentralised torrents. This permits both
"trackerless" torrents and the maintenance of swarms where the
tracker has become unavailable or where the torrent was removed
from the tracker.
They can't say they didn't see this coming. Back in December, when
the MPAA shut down Suprnova.org, they could see they'd stumbled
into a hornet's nest. Highlighting the centralized tracker - the
weakness of BitTorrent - gave the whole swarm of hackers all the
inspiration they needed to set to work on the problem. I predicted
this in Out of Control: The Sequel back on the 20th
of December - but that really wasn't much of a feat. Anyone who'd
been watching the progression of P2P networks could see the truth
And while I was writing these paragraphs, I got an email from my
diligent and intelligent graduate student, inviting me to participate
in the beta program for an oddly familiar piece of software:
Outfoxed is the implementation side of my master's thesis at
the University of Osnabrück, Germany. The thesis title
is Trusted Metadata Distribution Using Social Networks. In a
nutshell, I'm exploring ways for you to use your network of
trusted friends to determine what's good, bad, and dangerous
on the internet. Outfoxed does this by adding functionality
to the Firefox web browser. Coding began on Dec 27th, 2004.
That's very odd, because the author began coding Outfoxed the same
day I began writing hyperpeople, a book which discusses what
happens once applications like Outfoxed - media swarms - become
part of daily life. It looks as though we are opening into the swarming
of understanding right on time.
Two predictions so recently made, and so recently come true. You
know what this means? I am no longer a futurist. I am a presentist.
Everyone else is simply living in the past.
back next week for part two of Piracy is Good?
THE NEW LAWS OF TELEVISION
is the creator of the
Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) - the first
3D interface to the internet - and the founder of the Interactive
Media Program at USC's School of Cinema-Television. In 2000, Ballantine
Books published Pesce's The
Playful World: How Technology is Transforming our Imagination,
which explored the world of interactivity through a detailed examination
of the Furby, LEGO’s Mindstorms and the Playstation 2. In late 2003,
Pesce was invited to the Australian Film Television and Radio School,
with a mandate to redesign the curriculum to incorporate the new
opportunities offered by interactive media.