Hacking a Trans-Planetary Net: The Essence of Hacking in a Context of Pan-global Culture, the Wetware / dryware Interface, and Going to Europa.

Presented at DEF CON 9 (2001), July 15, 2001, 10 a.m. (50 minutes)

When Richard Thieme spoke at DefCon 4, he said hacking was practice for trans-planetary life in the 21st century. Well, guess what? It was. But a changing context has also changed what hacking looks like. Context is content, and what was hacking at MIT on a PDP-6 just doesn't cut it any more. The essence of hacking is the same, but the game is played differently. When space war involves holographic image projection, cloaking devices, multispectral camouflage, micro-know-bots and the creation of synthetic environments that an adversary thinks are real ... when cells are switched on to conduct heat and electricity ... and the exploration of Titan and Europa make Mars and the moon look like inner suburbs ... hacking means more than knowing how to spray paint a website or shut down a server. Hacking means an artist's imagination, an obsessive hunger for knowledge, and a deep understanding of cyborg humanity. Thieme illuminates the topography of that weird landscape.

Key concepts: context is content, i.e. what makes sense in one context no longer makes sense in another, what is wise in one context is insanity in another; hacking in its essence is a way to approach life with identifiable qualities and characteristics - some are innate and some can be learned. the ones that can be learned and how to learn them are spelled out; the attributes of hacking as it evolved in the sixties, if translated whole hog into the 21st century, make you look like a dork; it's not about being a script kiddie, doing ddos attacks, or leaving graffiti - it is about the tools of imagination, the weapons of the mind, in a world of widespread deception; the practice of deception - the creation of illusion, the use of misdirection, the lethality of ridicule - are examined in relationship to hacking as the quest to know the truth; specific scenarios will be described, using the most current human resources, including war in space; the fusion of information war and space war through the "information web;" the changing definitions of humanity at the wetware/dryware interface, with emphasis on materials science and advances in brain enhancement; how life in space changes people and changes the species; and the bottom line - how the real attributes of hacking can be ported into this Borg world and used imaginatively, mischievously, and with a light touch to give real style to one's hacking and transform one's cyberlife into a work of art.



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