Description Discussing newer and newer generations of technologies as cycles of critique and recuperation through the (counter-)example of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) history.
Kids session No
Keyword(s) political
Processing assembly Anarchist Village
Person organizing Maxigas
Language en - English
en - English
Other sessions...
Starts at 2015/12/29 22:30
Ends at 2015/12/29 23:30
Duration 60 minutes
Location Hall 13

Around the turn of the millenia IRC was the chat device of choice for much of the Internet's population. Sometimes consumed by internal strife, the ecosystem of IRC servers has always been self-organised and self-managed by IRC users, as well as technically federated. After Microsoft failed to build a business model on IRC (with Comic Chat), soon followed a generation of chat applications that you could install on your computer (ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! chat...). These relied on centralised "wall gardens" controlled by the vendor of those closed-source and non-interoperable chat applications. Conversely, when the web became a veritable platform, chat devices became subordinate services in the packages offered by Internet monopolies such as Facebook and Twitter. Despite trials, these are still not interoperable with XMPP. Large and strategically important parts of the technical community however sticked to IRC during all these times.

New generations of hackers arrived to Free Software and got on IRC; the Anonymous hacker group that took off around 2006 choose IRC as its backend infrastructure; and hackerspaces which proliferated since 2007 use IRC to organise their everyday lives. Whenever it is about getting things done, from writing Wikipedia through developing Linux to creating mayhem and sabotaging capitalism, IRC plays a role. This talk asks what prevented IRC from being integrated into a profit-based model of capital accumulation, and how can we build on this historical contingency.

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