Technology is Not Magic: The Hacker’s Point of View — Bitmark Ambassador “bunnie” Huang
“One of the reasons I am so passionate about open source, is that I worry that, if people believe that technology is magic, then we find ourselves in a dangerous situation. We essentially become slaves to the technology…”
The Bitmark Ambassador series highlights innovators who understand the importance of property rights in the modern digital environment. They are industry pioneers — artists, lawyers, scientists, health researchers, hackers, makers and creators.
Andrew “bunnie” Huang is a renowned hacker, author, researcher, and activist. He is best known for his open hardware designs: the Chumby (app-playing alarm clock), Chibitronics (peel-and-stick electronics for craft), and Novena (DIY laptop). His book on reverse engineering, Hacking the Xbox, is a widely respected tool for hardware hackers. He serves as a Research Affiliate for the MIT Media Lab and a technical advisor for several startups including Bitmark and MAKE magazine. bunnie received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT and currently lives in Singapore where he runs a private product design studio, Kosagi.
Throughout his various projects to empower fellow hackers, journalists, and women, these projects all share one core value: “The Importance of Free Will”.
“I really value free will. A lot of times at the end of the day, part of the idea of seeing the world as a hacker and not seeing the labels on things — that’s kind of the essence of free will.”
In his Bitmark Ambassador video, bunnie raises an interesting question about the people behind large organizations and companies that create rules and define structure. These people are no better than us — we all have the intelligence and capability to question what we are led to believe. We do not need to settle for blind acceptance.
“I really hope in the future we can always find a way to preserve free will. And a lot of the idea behind open source and sharing and sharing the idea of hacking is teaching people how to have that sense of free will and independence, that ability to control their destiny.”
bunnie tells us that if technology makes people feel trapped or lost then there is a path to understand it. That is how a hacker looks at technology, seeing it for what it really is, not what it’s only packaged to be.
“That kind of experience of being able to just kind of touch the hardware and play around with it, break it, fix it, kind of got me over even the notion that technology is magic. Technology is something that you can understand.”
Enjoy “Technology is Not Magic” below and let us know how technology impacts your perspective on the world.
More about bunnie:
▪ He filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government arguing that Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act stifles innovation and free speech.
▪ He worked with a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab to develop programmable circuit stickers that encourage more girls to experiment with electronics and physical computing.
▪ He created a reference design for a cheap Geiger counter with the goal of helping citizens detect environmental radiation resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan.
▪ He teamed up with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to develop Introspection Engine, an iPhone case for journalists and human rights activists that detects if their devices are secretly transmitting Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, or GPS signals when they shouldn’t be.