November 16, 2011

"[I]mpish self-styled radical, unicyclist and competitive ballroom dancer... member of the nascent liberation technology movement..."

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of the social network Diaspora*... dead at age 22... "indications of suicide."

Diaspora* was ""the anti-Facebook":
Instead of creating a central database like Facebook’s, where information about hundreds of millions of members is stored and mined for advertising and marketing purposes, their idea was to develop freely shared software that would allow every member of the network to “own” his or her personal information....

He and his partners were inspired to start their project after attending a lecture in February 2010 by Eben Moglen, a Columbia Law School professor and an advocate of liberation technology, about the threat to privacy and social justice in Internet commerce.
The open platform model would not, Zhitomirskiy said, make him rich, but: "There’s something deeper than making money off stuff... Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome."

24 comments:

GMay said...

Ok, other than "social justice in internet commerce" being complete nonsense, how does a lefty reconcile such inbred leftism with a strong desire for privacy?

traditionalguy said...

It is very sad to see that much creativity go silent at such a young age.

He just wanted to be a channel to bless the world. That doesn't sound either liberal or conservative. That sounds Jewish.

Shouting Thomas said...

Strangely interesting.

Let me link it to the OWS people.

Since the beginning of OWS, I've thought the real issue is freedom, not the distribution of money, although the two are linked.

Cain's sexual harassment fiasco has only convinced me that this is the case.

The workplace is a shithole of sterility and silent S&M. The idiocy of feminism has culminated in a nightmare. Simply being and acting like a normal male has been criminalized and prohibited.

It's great for people like Atlhouse, who get to play out the S&M game as a top. She enjoys the S&M game. For everybody else... eh... it's just something to tolerate for a paycheck.

I want command of my own life and time. I've got the necessities, just like most people.

Freedom, not more stuff, is what I want. I think that this is what the OWS people really want, too.

I think the OWS people have a case, but they need to talk about freedom and cease the angry confrontation over money and goods. The issue is freedom. Freedom from being controlled by the S&M game that pleases those at the top, like Althouse, but grinds everybody else into silence and a de-sexed existence.

madAsHell said...

impish self styled radical
unicyclist
competitive ballroom dancer
member of the nascent liberation technology movement

...and only 22 years old??

I think he should have stuck with skirts and beer.

Tim said...

"...Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome."

Apparently not awesome enough to not commit suicide.

Tim said...

"...how does a lefty reconcile such inbred leftism with a strong desire for privacy?"

Self delusion. Because, in the end, they can't reconcile it, so they simply believe in it.

It's a faith-based view of the world: "In exchange for my vote for candidates who will tax and regulate businesses within an inch of their livelihoods, give or take a foot, I get wealth redistribution, and the right to f^ck whomever I can behind closed doors and get high. That's all the privacy I need."

Curious George said...

"Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome."

Well, I guess the stuff for the universe he decided to create was fertilizer.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know Diaspora, but it sounds like a great idea. A lot of us like what Facebook can do except we have little control of when and how it does it. If I owned and controlled my information, I'd love it. Why hasn't this taken off?

Bryan C said...

And then he realized that the universe doesn't care.

edutcher said...

I've noticed more than a few Open Source people (Shout may beg to differ) are in it for something more than the money.

While shackled to a 5th grade vocabulary, he did seem to aspire to create something good.

RIP

Methadras said...

The universe does not care about your moronic creation, moron. kthxdie. Oh wait.

traditionalguy said...

Why trash this guy?

The cold universe may not care if we exist, but men believing in caring for other men by the creation of new knowledge is a very, very valuable trait.

Go research the amazing career of Dr.Jonas Salk and then try to tell me that I am wrong.

Sigivald said...

... turns out that nobody actually cared about a social network that worked like that and that nobody was using.

Who could have guessed?

Oh, right. Anyone.

(Also, don't create stuff "for the universe".

Create stuff for people.)

Sigivald said...

traditonalguy: Salk didn't work "for the universe", is the point.

He wanted to make people's lives better - and that's why we look up to him.

"The universe" is exactly the wrong target, for a host of reasons.

(Not the least of which is the incoherence of "for the universe" as a goal; "the universe" has no desires, ends, or needs to fulfill.

Whatever he thought he was doing "for the universe" was really just him doing what he thought was good, and likely really "for people", given his focus on a social network.

The conflation of "the universe" and "my vision for society" is troubling at best. While likely well-intentioned, it's a horrifyingly totalizing vision.

Alternatively, maybe he was just really bad at expression. Which doesn't help when you're trying to change the world by convincing people to use some software...)

SPImmortal said...

He was murdered by Mark Zuckerberg with the help of Justin Timberlake.

SPImmortal said...

Why trash this guy?

The cold universe may not care if we exist, but men believing in caring for other men by the creation of new knowledge is a very, very valuable trait.

Go research the amazing career of Dr.Jonas Salk and then try to tell me that I am wrong.

------

It ain't new knowledge. It's just a new social networking site.

Throw it on the pile.

E.M. Davis said...

What's weird is that the URL http://www.diaspora.com/ redirects to a CBS News 60 Minutes story about The Patriarch Bartholomew.

I get that they would be a .org, but I mistyped the URL.

E.M. Davis said...

Guess what lies in the middle of a Venn diagram of Competitive Ballroom Dancers and Unicyclists?

Rick67 said...

As a "classical liberal" (as opposed to a modern American liberal) I believe strongly in personal liberty and have been a big fan of Diaspora project since it was first announced. Have tried to install/run my own node in Linux with mixed success. Have an account with Diasp.org node and got an invite to the big JoinDiaspora node.

Lefty or no, the project is a worthy one and I was greatly saddened to hear of this young man's death. To his credit Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated a large amount to the Diaspora project when it first raised $200k.

If an Althouse commenters are interested I can be found at rickwright67@diasp.org.

@bagoh25 - Great question, and progress has been slow enough to frustrate many early Diaspora supporters. Technical problems? There was a period of time when months went by without any word from the Diaspora team. They're finally at Alpha stage.

traditionalguy said...

Sigvald...Good reply. Thanks for the help that you gave to my universe.

Nora said...

It seems to me that while term " liberation technology" is pretty vague and means different thing to different people, apart from "social justice" meme, the objectives of these guys i.e. protecting personal internet activities data from use by government and corporations is more libertarian than liberal.

OTOH, this concept can be potentially dangerous as it can be misused by anarchist, terrorist and somesuch antisocial activities.

Eric said...

Guess what lies in the middle of a Venn diagram of Competitive Ballroom Dancers and Unicyclists?

People with good balance?

JAL said...

Well, I think this is sad.

BarryD said...

A member of an unheard-of granfalloon has said, "Now I will destroy the whole world".

Busy, busy, busy.