26C3 - 26C3 1.15

26th Chaos Communication Congress
Here be dragons

Sandro Gaycken
Day Day 1 - 2009-12-27
Room Saal3
Start time 23:00
Duration 01:00
ID 3540
Event type Lecture
Track Community
Language used for presentation English

A Hacker’s Utopia

What's There and What's Missing

The lecture will explore hacker ideology as a utopian idea. Drawing on utopian theory and technology assessment, it will investigate within which terms hacking can be acknowledge as a utopia, what might be missing for a full-blown societal vision and - most importantly - how technology could actually help to realize utopian ideas (and how not).

Hackers seem to have a vision of the future. It is accessibly engraved in the principles known as the hacker ethic: free and equal access to technology and information, decentralization, privacy, liberty, autonomy of the individual, free learning and education. These are some pillars easily extracted from the hacker values. But do these suffice for a full-blown utopia, a comprehensive societal vision? What of the other aspects of life? How should the economy be dealt with? Or which form of government would suit the hackers’ principles and our ways of life? Can some answers to these questions be determined or at least others ruled out? Should they? And most importantly: Can – as many hackers seem to believe – technology realize utopian ideas? The internet as a technological utopia, realizing new degrees in the freedom and equality of information, seems to have failed, considering the digital divide and the advent of censorship. Was that probably in part due to the lack of a utopian theory behind the technology? My talk will aim at these questions. I will state that due to the history of computing, hacking can in fact be understood as an involuntary partial utopia, capable of a few things to which it has actually contributed a lot by means of technology, while not capable of others. This relates to my late research and a model of a utopian, co-evolutionary development cycle of technology and society. I will also be able highlight which kinds of elements might in principle be needed to render hacking from an involuntary and only partly effective, loose set of futuristic ideas into a voluntary and effective vision.