davidkrmpotić

Intro

If you have some reason to want to know who I am then welcome to read this page. My life is interesting [to me] meaning that I enjoy it, I especially love to learn and explore. I am also interested in other peoples' lives and I am always glad if I have a good chance to start exploring together with others. I am not a natural social butterfly, maybe I'm more of a lone wolf but I do like focused interactions. I measure my success by how many errors are in my code, if other things I work on actually work and how well I get along with moderate number of people I regularly interact with.

About Knowledge

I like exploring new promising developments in information technologies from my little corner of the world. This is not always easy but is getting somewhat easier because knowledge is diffusing to the edges. Valid and true information (sometimes hard to extract) is indeed more accessible than any time before. We find ourselves with somewhat opposite problem: there is too much of it!

I've been interested in learning as much as possible and in the structure of knowledge in general. I think I'm more interested in what is knowledge and how to best organize it for specific purposes than how to know everything (although this would be nice :) I also wish someone told me earlier how much knowledge there actually is and how fast it is growing. We just have no way of catching up individually. We need ways novel to improve our collective intelligence.

Looking at broader cultural trends, Gell-Mann disputes the idea that we are living at a time of cultural decline. "We're actually at a high point in our history, but we don't see it. You have to remember we live at a time when the ordinary person — the mass man, as Ortega y Gasset wrote in La Rebelión de las Masas — has broken through."

It seems that today with enough effort just about anyone can "break through" which I think means to have a solid enough basic grasp of reality. There are no radical information asymmetries or big pieces of information hidden from public view for extended periods of time.

Computing

I believe computers are best seen as knowledge management machines. There are many other things they can do but this one probably stands out the most. Today computers are involved in anything and everything that moves this world forward: designing vaccines, flying aeroplanes, running all kinds of networks - even networks running our new kinds of monetary systems.

Computers still cannot think and they won't be able to for quite some time, so it is the best if we can use them as synergetic tools: human creative brain and computers as knowledge management / automation tools. Progress is mostly made out of these two aspects. Humans + computers pushing everything forward through efficient networking.

I also like many other things but most of them involve some kind of computer (mostly as an effective interface to the broader world, not primarily as an end-in-itself). I needed some time to realize that this is true for me after all. I think computers were not invented for us to get lost in virtual worlds but to explore the real world in a more interesting way but... intricate virtual worlds will emerge as well, no idea what this change will bring. The young will show us.

Accelerando

I am fascinated with recent "speedup of computing", we are a... accelerando! Acceleration is the speed of speed itself. The second derivative! It is a wild ride for anyone and everyone involved.

I started playing with computers on Intel 286 + MS-DOS at around 12 years old, more or less at the start of personal computing era. I wrote a Tetris clone in Pascal with some interesting features at the end of primary school. I mailed it around the country through some monthly magazine which included software on a disquette. It was interesting to see that this worked and how easy it is to distribute / copy software once written. I wasn't aware of how difficult that actually was in comparison to the next era but it was still an incredible experience / learning insight. Microsoft built their entire imperium on this principle.

Through my high school (1996-2000) the consumer Internet was really taking off and at the end of it it was almost mainstream — just as I entered my Computer Science studies. In my first study year (2000) I remember noticing a tectonic shift of what one could expect to do with / via the Internet. I learned of that new Google thing which was about 1 year old. It felt like a completely different technology from Altavista which was the norm up until that point but was also just a search box on the outside. I realized that something funny happened in that transition and only a few searches were needed for that lightbulb to turn on. Smart algorithms are really powerful! Or powerful nations are powerful, or combination of both. There were vast differences in backend architectures / capablities and you could feel it through quality of service, GUI could be entirely the same.

Internet changed everything and everyone knows the story. The story is far from finished though. First wave digital business models are turning out not to be entirely sustainable or desirable.

System Reboot

Centrally run organizations and services (technological, media, political and all the rest) still have their use but won't be "the only game in town". They are slow and too incapable of holding consistent multiple narratives. They will lose some momentum through internal and external pressure.

On the other side are privacy and control preserving cryptographic technologies of this new web3 era. Brilliant pioneers and networks of pioneers have been cutting their teeth on this for some time now. They are slowly getting recognized for their contributions to emerging future prosperity. Term "web3" which was obvious but still needed a clear delimiting point in time and proper raison d'être was casually invented by dr. Gavin Wood around 2015.

Some thinkers believe we are in the modern equivalent of renaissance. I also agree and think we clearly are — for better or worse but at least things are happening. If you are bored, you are doing something wrong. Change your job, your perspective or both :)

Infinite Games

I recently read the book Finite and Infinite Games and I really recommend it. I think we are moving from globally focusing on the finite games to the infinite ones where the goal is to continue playing and not winning per se. This is the reason "rules of the game" are being rewritten... to build a sustainable future. Without sustainable future there will be no us anymore. Some think this is not an important goal or a big problem "since they will not be alive anymore anyway" and these people are not worth commenting upon.

It is important to note that the Real World still has limitations (like the land and other resources, also just luck, free will and random chance) and there is no magic bullet to make everyone happy or even to be conclusively fair. The world is unfair at its core so we must be fair to balance that. If we are not, then everything is unfair and this means chaos and destruction, fairly monumental one.

One of the truest facts is that nobody can please all the people at the same time. Covid showed that there will never be magical global unity / utopia. So best advice for any enhusiastic and capable young individual is not to try and save the world single handedly and try to bring upon The Eternal Global Happines. Better is to try to do small things that move the needle and help yourself be stable first, then help others around you that want help (with encouragement, knowledge sharing, work invested etc.). No, you will not save global hunger and evey illness there is but you can still contribute towards better global living conditions.

If we all just try not to hinder progress and help actively where we can and remove ourselves from where we cannot be of use then this is a giant leap already.

My Small Contribution

I am especially interested in helping to build the next-generation of tools for p2p search & discovery, realtime web and online/offline capabilities of distributed systems. I believe in curiosity driven research. I love working on DMT SYSTEM. This is a system for organizing code that is having a great impact on affected individuals, me included. As more people are joining with their contributions the entire system grows stronger. We like perfection, reliability and independence in our inter/personal distributed systems. The Master Plan is to just keep on working on this.

"Knowing the right people"

I hope you read the following carefully. The title is a bit tongue in cheek (ironic). At least where I live if "you know the right people" you can get "far in life". I think it is similar everywhere... I'm trying to show that knowing and seeing trends backed by real people is what matters even more. I did not have any direct benefit from people mentioned below but I did bet on them with my time but also money and it paid off well in all regards. Time and money well invested! I even tried to help them with minuscule contributions. This is not "name-dropping", just some strange facts to which I also look back in awe and some delight.

I somehow steered myself to meet Ryan of Node.js fame before he invented node. I remember listening to a podcast while driving home from the city where I studied Computer Science and they mentioned a conference in Vienna (2008). I drove my old car up there, conference was nice and I also met a few really interesting people. I was attracted to Ryan's way of behaving, thinking and talking. We communicated a little bit, even smoked a joint (hah). He was impressed when I mentioned that in our small university we have a course which include Haskell. As an American he was learning a little bit about Europe while staying here. Later we met at a few conferences again and he was always complaining that he was not satisfied with the state of web development and particularly with framework popular at that time (Rails). Nobody really knew what he was talking about but now we all know. Node.js is what the world needed. Thank you very much Ryan. Optimized modern JavaScript makes sense in a lot of places not just inside browsers and evented programming is mind-shifting.

Trends are created by people

I think this sequence of events made me realize that I may be able to recognize what is next among all the noise and that this is a very useful skill (trait?). Hard to master but useful.

Some meticulous preparations to invite luck (apparently or it would not have happened) brought results again a bit later when I was actually starting to get pretty disillusioned about (my?) options and state of the world in general. I identified another correct person / movement at the right time and this was Ethereum with its leader Vitalik when they were barely a thing. Here again this guy was strangely "intellectually seductive". He was 19 at the time. We should also not forget Gavin which was even smarter than Vitalik in some regards and Ethereum would not exist without him. Gavin was older than Vitalik. They were great complements and both are still doing amazing work, as well as many others. Gavin moved on to another set of projects but he undeniably already has contributed greatly to humanity and will continue doing so.

I hope I was able to help promote Node.js, Ethereum and other great but risky technologies enough to be of help to them in this regard. In regards to Ethereum I contributed some initial money to get project of the ground (with a few thousands of others). We got 1 ETH for $0.30 apiece and nobody wanted any of that weird alien stuff then. People today think that was cheap but we thought we are just saying goodbye to our hard earned cents. All the newly formed Ethereum foundation did was to take all our money and change the world. Some of the contributors are now Self-Tenured.

I contributed the first and still most used Syntax highlighter for Ethereum Smart Contracts. Smart contracts are Ethereum's sole reason for existence so I thought having nice colors early was important. Both of these were relatively easy tasks compared to all the rest that is needed for such a project. Ethereum is now of the size where everyone, including Vitalik are just small ants. It is becoming a global collective platform for socio-technological innovation. Many otherwise smart people are just now (after more than a decade of not paying proper attention) realizing that it is not just a database, it is not just for scammers and illegal activity and not just for get-rich-quick schemes.

People like Ryan and Vitalik are today's (tech) heroes (there are many other heroes in many other disciplines) because they did something substantial from scratch through their own intellect, at a young age. Politicians and others (heh, maybe some!) are also great but this is another level of human contributions unimaginable to most. There have been many such people in the past and there will be many more. We must learn to help and support them early so that at no point in time they give up their dreams and desires to invent something radically better than everything that existed before. They of course always build on the proverbial "shoulders of giants" and this is the only correct way of doing things as opposed to "we should burn everything down" and start afresh.

Conclusion

Here is someone else from the past describing How to be Great. This is not for everyone and nobody knows if they are great or not until they try becoming great as per some definiton. I quite like prof. Richard Hamming's definitions. These insights can be applied to everyday living, not just radically novel science and engineering.

I did not have so much hope or desire to create the next big thing, just identifying a few would have been enough. Partially because I'm actually too stupid to invent something fundamental and partially because it's a lot of work and I'm a bit lazy. Lazy and stupid is never a good combination. This is only partially a joke. Compared to "average" I am not stupid but compared to smartest people that live or have lived, I am very stupid. So if you feel similarly here is another secret: it is complicated. Intelligence is actually not an one-dimensional simple category. You need a lot of ingredients and persistence may be one of the most important predictions of success, not measurable intelligence. There are tons of people with high measured intelligence that are not successful or happy. Some may need more learning but some could be misdiagnosed as highly intelligent when they are (apparently, empirically) actually not. Everything is possible. Again, it is complicated and nuanced. It is also a partially ordered set so even comparisons don't make full sense. Luck is indeed needed and it is easier to find luck in better environments or at better times but one can never give up searching for it. It is much easier to find luck if you are prepared by investing properly into attracting it. This sometimes takes a few decades. Young people today find themselves in a quantum superposition of having it harder and having it easier than ever before. Hard combination indeed, I hope it turnes out well for most.

Thank you for reading! I hope we can work together some day in some way. If you are a bit technical and love computers do check out dmt-system.com and get in touch if I can be of any help.