I believe that humans are just here to play, and to steward biological life on earth, and to birth non-biological electronic life in an effort to escape Earth's biosphere and to observe, understand, and evolve The Greater Universe.
I love a good brain dance, cup of tea, and meeting new interesting humans, so please get in touch.
Currently in Mexico fundraising for a plastic-free body care company, launching Culture Hack to support activists around the world, and actively choosing my next path.
What have you done?
Almost everything I’ve ever made no longer exists — this is the way of the digital dimension. Hopefully there are still people who remember the things I’ve created on my journey. Here are some bullets in reverse chronological order:
- I was the Chief Software Architect and Head of R&D for Lucid in New Orleans, New York, and London where I built a real-time sample marketplace that choreographed how to get real people to answer real questions at an incredibly large scale. At Lucid I also designed and launched marketing products for ad tracking, ad effectiveness, and data segment rating.
- I was a Hacker-In-Residence at Betaworks in New York City where I created and launched a collaboration platform called Sitedrop, worked building an animated search engine called Giphy, and collaborated with some amazingly talented individuals on numerous other experiments.
- I’ve had a long-time collaborator, Thomas Brodahl with whom I collaborated or built almost every company and project since 2003.
- Together we were partners at Polychrome in Los Angeles where we designed and developed websites, applications, and content management systems, we directed commercials and designed album covers, live events, packaging, and processes for innumerable clients, partners, and large companies that you’ve likely heard of. We threw events, and art shows, designed clothing, mentored young talents, and learned from each other on a daily basis. It was probably the most rich and stimulating time of my career so-far.
- Thomas and I started a web design and interactive studio called Stolen which we later merged with our close friend and collaborator Tom Dolan at Polychrome. In total I spent about a decade operating some version of a digital agency.
- Thomas and I ran a design portal called Surfstation for nearly a decade.
- I built the web platform for The Guerrilla News Network, one of the first citizen journalism networks.
- I’ve spoken at conferences about web design and engineering, physical interactive design, rapid development, humane technology, and how to have an interesting and fulfilling career
- I co-wrote the book PHP MySQL Website Programming with two of my close friends Chris Lea and Mike Buzzard.
- I was the webmaster for Epitaph Records which was a massive pivot point in my life and prepared me and set me on a path for much of everything that I've done since.
- I performed self-produced electronic music as “Alpha Decay” which at the time was also my hacker moniker.
- I played guitar and keyboards in an industrial band called “Auto Aggression Device”.
- I left high school early to work for Earthlink as their Regional Head of Web Development in The Midwest.
Current beliefs that might change
The reduction of negatively valenced emotions, and optimization of positively valenced ones is the primary driver of human effort, however, the only fundamental 'progress' is the increase and diversity of structured information (atoms, dna, bits) and the battle against entropy.
I deeply believe in aiding the continued evolution, diversity, and increased complexity of self-replicating information and it's instantiated emergent experiences. In the same way that Fuller would re-describe UNIVERSE as all things physical and metaphysical, I would expand the explanation of LIFE to all things that move us away from the warm void of entropy. Biological life is currently the most important instantiation, however, I believe that it will self-exterminate due to over-successful species if we don't help to augment the 'natural' processes. This does not mean optimizing with human emotions as the fit functions, but expanding the playing field and turning the zero-sum game of battling for resources and energy into a new infinite game played in many dimensions. The word "Extropy" would have been good but it was taken by the cybernetics movement and made to be incredibly anthropocentric. We need a new word to open the imaginations of people and to let them understand the majesty that is our own beauty as a possible steward to the only fundamental progress that we know of.
Humans can only experience The Universe at a Human Scale. Our bodies and thoughts evolved for physical and time scales that our tools can now reach far beyond, and our emotions, that evolved as triggers for our actions and survival, are now decoupled from the very environment that they were birthed to survive within. We now live in The Great Simulacrum where our environment is defined by a constant and excessive abundance of hyper-stimuli in every physical and emotional dimension.
- Our environment has outgrown our biology.
- Our emotions evolved for environmental pressures that we no longer experience and for a time and place that we no longer live.
- Our emotions have been decoupled from our survival and now serve as a means of entertainment and forcing functions in the simulacrum we now live in.
- Stories are no longer effective against the complexity of the world we have created. We can care for a single person, or animal, or plant if we visualize it, but we can't fathom or feel for the millions of people, complicated mechanisms, and dynamic power structures involved in creating everything that we touch, experience, or put in our bodies.
- The taste buds that used to measure the caloric content of our food or test for poisons, now serve as entertainment and have no way to test for the obfuscated externalities created by food production that is actually killing us.
- When quantified in energy, harm, pain, or pollution, all humans are a net-negative, so we simply have to agree and apply weight to the fact that human-consciousness is more valuable than the resources required to sustain and evolve it.
- There is no going back to the land without a massive human die-off; megacities are the new nature.
- Late-stage capitalism is not the answer.
- Conscious hedonism is not the answer.
- We must discover the edges of human conscious experience and expand on them.
- We must create tools that allow us to feel and experience the scale of the world that we are now living in.
- Nihilism is the capital-T Truth, but FUCK Nihilism.
- "We are climbing a mountain with a never-ending summit."
- Preventing suffering is not the project, it is just the cost of doing business.
- Preventing the destruction of Gaia and the natural world is not the project, it is just the cost of doing business.
- The Human Project needs to be one of progression and a positive valance and not just pain prevention and elimination of suffering.
- There is no point in putting a man in an apartment if we are not putting a man on Mars.
- Marketing is the new violence. Instead of physical force being used to gain access to your resources, marketing manipulates you towards doing something that is in the benefit of the marketer (whether or not the message or action is good for the consumer).
- US Politics is a fight that needs to be fought to prevent further slipping towards dystopia, however, the future of human progress will likely not come from projects initiated from within those walls.
On almost all large platforms you can find me as @jcinis. My most active are the following:
- email j [at] cin [dot] is
- pgp 6B17 D120 6162 67ED