Open source Soylent?

My dreamworld doesn’t use money (see Direct Logistics). My dreamworld is “open source”. The advantage of open source is, of course, transparency, but primarily a healthy, normal, productive back-and-forth of effort and ideas. Open source is bi-directional sharing, i.e., you share, then others share back. In my futuristic “Star Trek” economy, everything is open source. That means every process in every “business” is open source. People from all over would fork, hack, merge recursively. So, why not totally open-source Soylant?

A while back I made this same suggestion to Tesla (via the website “Contact”) and they in fact did open source some of their technology. I have no way of knowing if it was my suggestion that spurred them, but it might have.

By open source I mean total Internet availability of everything about Soylent – all formulae, inputs, outputs, processes – total transparency of what you’re doing – the more the better. I’m an Emacs org-mode fan, and with org-mode (or something similar) everything you do could be “Githubbed” in org-mode files.

In the present business climate many people would say such an idea is daft, a quick way to commit commercial suicide, as all of your “competitors” would “steal” your “secrets.” I say something else would emerge, namely, that you’d gain what any open-source software project has: free workers. And when my Direct Logistics economy is up and running, everyone will be a “free” (and totally economically independent) hacker. Open source has proven itself superior – even in this unfriendly, money-based capitalist world.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw this out at you.


So, you realize that a major plotline of Star Trek: Voyager was keeping their technology away from the Delta Quadrant inhabitants, right?

LOL. How many open source projects have stagnated because the developers eventually realize food costs money?


Soylent has published their recipie.

And there’s a big DIY site.

[quote=“Telos, post:2, topic:24221”]LOL. How many open source projects have stagnated because the developers eventually realize food costs money?[/quote]How many open source developers will come back is soylent succeeds in making food really cheap?

They used to. We’re still waiting on the 2.0 recipe.

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Cheap is not free. And food is only one part of the equation, shelter tends to cost quite a lot of money as well… and short of inventing pocket dimensions space will always be at a premium.

Not “if”! When!

My first action would be a pull request fixing the “Soylant” typo.



If you think about it, computer networks are in no way monetized. They do no sort of money exchange. They have no gates or boundaries at which a payment must be made for a batch of data-laden electrons to continue.

Really? Tell that to my ISP.

Imagine a Kafkaesque nightmare where you wake up in your home, but every room is infested with demon gatekeepers and merchants who all want payment . . . to go down the hallway, use the bathroom, go to the kitchen, get some cereal. And as the dream progresses, the demons seem to gain control and ownership of anything and everything, constantly extracting payments, fees, rents. It gets to the point where nothing can happen in a natural manner. This is probably how the female-voiced “operating system” in the movie Her saw the human economy. . . . In some future Man-versus-Machine sci-fi story, Machine will invariably notice this problem about Man and seek to remedy it. . . .

There’s a British show on Netflix that would be a far more apt comparison. Though they’ve traded “money” for “credits” obtained by bicycling to generate electricity. You pay a little for each drop of toothpaste, watching TV, avoiding ads etc.

And from there it will be a short walk, technically, into a “Star Trek” economy.

No. What will lead to the “Star Trek” economy is replication technology. Once any material can be replicated then things can be “free.” Until then something needs to control allocation so that, for instance, no one just takes all the platinum in the world and wastes it on building a shiny car. Once we can replicate silver though, sure… go ahead.


[quote=“Telos, post:5, topic:24221”]
Cheap is not free. And food is only one part of the equation, shelter tends to cost quite a lot of money as well… and short of inventing pocket dimensions space will always be at a premium.
[/quote]Cheap is a step towards free.

The less people need to fight over and guard their food supply, the better we are as a race.

I’m not saying cheaper, healthier, food is a bad thing. I’m saying it won’t usher in an era of people performing labor for free.

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I’ve never heard of a physics experiment where the electrons suddenly stopped and said, “50 cents, please.” It’s us humans that have toll booths everywhere. Nature no. Humans yes. Your ISP is still operating in the bounds of money-based econ. But nothing in the electrons, hardware, software has any sort of toll booth. Your ISP, of course, had to add extra software to toll-booth you. But it’s not there naturally. . . .

AFA “stuff” is concerned, I borrow a page from the technocrats: Experts would have to A) assess a particular resource’s supply, then B) gauge our “budget” based thereon. Who gets stuff would be dependent upon who did the best with it the last time, i.e., in the sense of did you keep the overall entropy of through-put low? Wasters don’t win resource contracts with DL.

None of it is there naturally! It’s all man-made except the electrons themselves.

You do understand that communism failed, right? And it wasn’t because of lacking computer power, it was due to human nature.


Yes, communism failed. Didn’t do logistics right. Didn’t do open source, open, free society right . . . all against “human nature”. And capitalism is failing, spectacularly, as we “speak,” again, for the same reasons. I now live in Indiana, an experiment in retro-capitalism, with the social Darwinism of pre-ghost E, Scrooge. This is not much different from what I saw in East Germany.

Look, you want to set up a computer and basically treat humans like widgets in a system. (I mean, yeah that sounds great right off the bat.)

The problem is you, or your programmers, will slant the computer to favor them. That’s exactly what happened with Communism. You get millions of really poor people and a few people with everything.

You can argue that capitalism isn’t any different, but there’s one huge difference: No one has absolute control over the allocation. If I come up with a viable product, I can get to be in that upper class. That’s the advantage.

Is it perfect? No, and it’s certainly possible for people to game the system and make it harder for others. But it’s still better.

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Keep the replicator technology out of the Kazons’ hands so that they can’t replicate Soylent!

Species 8472


This is one of the reasons I consider Voyager “that uncle” no one likes to talk about. The entire series is like a conservative/libertarian dream about what Star Trek should’ve been. It even starts with a whole “bad gubmint” plot.

A lot of people they’d be giving technology to in voyager would have immediately turned it around and used against them. There’s also that prime directive thing about not becoming technology granting gods.

It was really only the Kaizon(sp?) who might have used it against them, and probably would have used it to dominate the entire quadrant. There was another episode where they could have traded replicator technology for a system to get them halfway home.

But originally the Prime Directive was just about interfering with pre-space faring societies. Which Kirk did all the time anyway so… seriously Janeway, WTF! :wink:

I was talking more about the politics around the Federation, Cardassians, and Maquis kicking things off. Followed by a big helping of re-introducing money into the Federation ship in the guise of “rations”; if they needed to ration, there certainly shouldn’t have been allocations big enough to allowing habitual wagering.

Umm, it’s exactly the opposite. There’s no point to wagering if you have unlimited food.

Voyager was a special case, being cut off from all the supply sources it was designed to have access to, considering it was capable of going for a few years before running into resource issues.