Can blockchain technology be a solution to create new forms of engagement and trust in our society? Or does it embody a familiar, elitist dogma beneath its surface?
What narratives and institutions help us live and survive well as a society – and is blockchain one of them?
Last year, I had an exciting exchange on this topic with law and culture scholar Katrin Becker. Based on the insights of the French thinker Pierre Legendre, we discussed fundamental questions – and their connection to blockchain technology.
For the illustration, I took a new approach. Instead of working with a human visual artist, this time I collaborated with DALL-E 2, an artificial intelligence that generated images from her text input. The result is atmospheric, rather abstract, almost reflective, which seems coherent given the subject matter. Having AI think about blockchain technology and its role as a Big Third – given that AI is being elevated to Big Third status itself right now, especially in the form of ChatGPT – is an exciting experiment.
Voilá, the comic essay “The Big Third and the Blockchain”:
View my other works here.
The release of The Big Third and the Blockchain, however, did not mark the end of this experiment. In the run-up to the digital premiere event, at 1E9, we asked experts working in various disciplines – art, science, journalism, software development – on the social impact of technology for reactions and opinions on the comic’s central themes and questions. Not only in text form, but again illustrated by AI. Here you will find some of the reactions.
Here are some exciting articles by Katrin Becker on this subject:
- “Divine protocols, Bitcoin disciples and shadowy rulers: On the religious preoccupations and ideological entanglements of blockchain technology”, in: Jahrbuch für Technikphilosophie, Nomos-Verlag 2022, p. 177-194
- “Blockchain matters – lex cryptographica and the displacement of legal symbolics and imaginaries”, Respondents: Jean Lassègue & Pierre Musso, Law & Critique, 2022
- Katrin Becker on Lex Cryptographia, interview by Evgeny Morozov on The Crypto Syllabus, December 2021
- “Franz Kafka in Dialogue with Pierre Legendre – Legal Experience or Window on Chaos”, in: Legal Theory 47 (2016), p. 1-15