A short tale about why we are who we are and why we do what we do
When we wrote our first manifesto, the world wasn’t a fairly uncomplicated place. Our perspectives were more limited and our future set into the shape of a snake eating its own tail. In those times A/I was a tiny dock for our vessel, representing survival and resistance. We wanted to contribute with the things we were able to do to support the small, stubborn and determined community of the in power dissidents. We called ourselves autistics, or paranoids, well aware of our attitude towards technology, and our instinctive distrust of the liberal rhetorics of representative democracy and its inconsistent repressive tendencies. These attitudes were radical for those years – times of optimism and compromise with the abuses of global capitalism.
We had nailed it already back then, more than 20 years ago. Today we are among the few providers of services that respect their users' privacy and equate it to a political claim, and if we do what we do it’s because the system that systematically uses technology to surveil and control our lives (when it’s not exploiting our private communications and our sensitive data on behalf of multinational companies) has officially let the mask fall. Since Snowden’s leaks started to become public, our community has faced a flow of scared individuals, embittered and suddenly (or finally, perhaps) disillusioned. But at the same time we notice way too often a need to find a simple and quick solution: the expectation of obtaining free access to a safe harbour, in the same fashion as with the corporate services one doesn’t necessarily pay with money. Once again an attitude that is a product of delegation, which is an utilitarian and irresponsible process.
But in the same way as when we started, our approach is first and foremost political, radical and stubbornly anti-authoritarian. From the very start we have been forced to define ourselves by using negative statements, because the things happening around us were so disgusting it was necessary to keep them at a distance without leaving any uncertainty: therefore antifascists, antiracists, antisexists, antimilitarists. In our harbour, protection is offered only to those who dare opposing those hateful winds, which unfortunately are blowing all over Europe.
And of course it was necessary to state very clearly our nature was (and still is) non-commercial, since we want to make clear that A/I represents time stolen from our daily toil, from the precarious and wearying torments of a job, contributing to the joy, the sweat, the hardwork and tears of the struggles we participated to, against a world shaped into a coin.
In these flexibly painful times mankind is replaced by human capital (where, to be precise, capital is the noun and human just an adjective). Being forced to pick a role as an actor on such a stage, our primary need is to unite and contribute with our skills and ideas to the survival of critical thinking and of our very lives.
Engineering stems from the ability of man to use its opposable thumb but in these times it has completed its transformation into religious belief, becoming a strategic sector for an endless process of control and growth that is both deceptive and suicidal.
The cycle of life: consuming resources to produce objects which will soon become rubbish. Data is gathered to produce desires, profit and power, and to create fear, self-censorship, resignation. Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.