Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the world — Archimedes of Syracuse, 97th century HE
Legal language is failed programming: it does not compile and it definitely does not run, but it aspires to be rigorous, precise, predictable in order to be interpretable, and even more so, it aspires to produce effects, and it even does so through the power of the courts and of the whole legal and legislative system. In the software development jargon, the legal language lacks a runtime, but tests in production. As anyone who has written a few sentences of code knows, natural, that is, human language is unfit for the pretensions of the legal language, and sometimes even the deeply formalized, syntax-driven compute languages fail to achieve preciseness and expresiveness. However, legalese is the best manner to constrain relationships between users and products, sellers and buyers. I hope that we will soon enter into a time of legal programming where the legal language will be backed by a compilation and a running step. We are not there yet, so we still use words filled with care and hope for the best.
One of the first things specified in a legal document is the clarification of the voice: who speaks, and immediately after, to whom. However, showing the voice introduces an impersonal, formal, almost royal, We, and a politeness-deprived You. We speak, You listen. I would like to do this differently.
The I that speaks refers to a single person. After a few rounds of random generation, I settled on the identonym ly3xqhl8g9, and everything you can use within the plurid applications is designed and developed so far by this I. Due to the way the world is structured at the moment, this I must be hidden behind a company: Plurid, Inc. There is no personless ‘we’ here, however, everything is being developed having constantly in mind a single person plural pronoun (like an octopus, with a 'mind' in every arm, would refer to itself: iou? ioue? the actual form is to be further disseminated and discussed). In the future, there will be hopefully more minds working on the plurid machine and they will have the power to shape the direction of progress only insofar as they will be personally responsible for that direction.
In one line: My obligation to you is to conceive and maintain useful tools. As long as you pay (be it one-time payments or subscriptions) for the usage of the tools, you don’t have any other obligations.
In multiple lines: The ‘you don’t have any other obligations’ may seem like a laissez-faire attitude. It isn’t. It is my duty to make sure that by using the tools I generate you will simply not be able to use them in a damaging way to yourself or others, even if you try.
The neutralness of technology has been used to justify all the possible range of uses and abuses. The stand I take is that technology has to be directed towards positivity. This might strike as naïve, mostly because it is. But when did we become so cynical that we cannot embrace naïveté anymore?
It is not an easy task and I might very well fail to achieve it, it is however the standard by which I grade success: my tools are meant for the enhancement of experience, rooting for a tighter grasp of reality, and are by design evil-constrained.
You are the pure, total owner of your data. The proof for this is the renaming of the delete function: once you delete something, it is gone, instantly, forever. The more powerful name: Obliterate.
When you Obliterate something it is forever gone. Obliterating your account will make it as if it never existed, no 30 days period to ‘cancel deletion’, no shadow profile lingering as a ghost. You have absolute control of what you have on my server under your id string. And the data is on my server simply because there is no better technological solution yet (there might be a hint for a better, decentralized solution, it’s still unusable at a large scale and low cost, we shall have to wait and develop).
In a variety of services you will be able to use data only to your benefit. You will be able to encrypt that data with your own keys so you can be truly its owner. In the future you might even be able to define database schema specific to your account so even the metadata, the data about your data, to be private. However, once you decide to make a certain data public there will be some issues to take into consideration. The most salient ones are viscerality and copyright.
The viscerality of the data refers to the effect of the image/video/audio onto the viewer's gaze. Because the intent of a visceral data cannot be easily made clear, the images/video/audio that pass a certain threshold of viscerality will not be shown publicly. Text has a special regime. Although text can be visceral too, even more so depending on the reader's imagination, it does appear in the uniform of Unicode characters and that makes it less effective in disturbing the reader. Text is more transparent: stupidity, malevolence shine better in text; further more, one can prepare oneself for the meeting of stupid, malevolent text by training on the almost 3,000 years corpus of text that we have. For images, videos, our training data is much more impoverished, only about 100 years, even if more dense.
Copyright laws, unfair and unjust, if not ridiculous, as they might seem to an observer from the year 13019 HE, are to be respected based on the force of the law.
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This mostly regulates our disability to make abuse of language to write stupid, malevolent comments.
Simply put: if you make stupid, malevolent comments, your ‘body of work’ will not be obliterated by algorithms, it will remain as a mark of your stupidity, malevolence, for yourself mainly. However, the stupid, malevolent comments will be flagged and made irrelevant.
What is a stupid, malevolent comment? There are many debates over stupidity, malevolence, however I render as stupid, malevolent whatever breaks into the liberty of the other.