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DAO Punks Cohort_4 - Week 4

Ashes to Vinyl

This week has been a difficult week but a super busy one. I published two episodes of my Crypto Sapiens AI <> web3 series from the Unrestricted Intelligence Summit with an episode of Gary Sheng and another one with Melissa Turner. I published a new episode 05 of the podcast Many Such Cases and kicked off a new spin off from that called Connecting the Dots. I also edited and published an episode of Humpty’s show called Onchain Alpha. This week he had Swaroop from Powerloom on. Then, I also edited and published two workshop podcast episodes with the University of Ethereum. All of this work is paid in some way. All of it is in the web3 space. None of it is corporate. Receiving this DAO Punks grant has allowed me to focus on this type of work and build up my work portfolio in this space. My time has become scarce and the week has flown by. I have honestly been under alot of stress with my bandwidth at its limit and I have left my keys in the ignition of my car three times this week causing my battery to die.  This is a sign of stress for sure.

 However, now I have a bit of a writer's block as to what to write about this week. But now, thank to this DAO Punks grant I can actually sit still for a moment and not work on other projects. One of the best ways to overcome writer's block is to start processing the personal thoughts. So, I will focus on something personal for me, which I have not allowed myself time to think about and process yet. I have been semi-consciously procrastinating this as it has been difficult for me to find the time alone to properly process it all.

To begin this week, I received a package from UPS that I had to sign for. The package contained some vinyl records that I had made. On March 23, 2022 I recorded my Mom and Dad in a personal family podcast episode. I asked them some basic questions about their life, their interests, their favorite moments, and some other stuff.

By that time my Dad had already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Previously, when I thought of Parkinson’s, I thought of Michael J. Fox and how, as sad as it is, he has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for a very long time. So I thought that’s how the disease went. However, in my Dad’s case, he degenerated very quickly and died a year and a half later on October 19, 2023.  As a result, this podcast recording had become like gold (or Bitcoin) to me. I put it up on YouTube so family and friends could listen.  My Dad didn't want a big expensive funeral and a bunch of boohoo-ing and fanfare about him. But, he did want his memory to be preserved and for his voice to carry on.  At that time I was recording my daily Eureka Street morning episodes and he would watch every single day on YouTube. As a Iatchkey kid due to him and my Mom always working and having their own relationship issues, I think he realized how much he had missed later in life and was really pouring his attention into what his kids were doing as adults. think he saw my video-blogging and realized how important it is that his story is told as well. So I came up with the idea of recording him and putting it on a record to pass down for generations and he loved it. 

After he died, I got the records on order and made a version of it for YouTube so more people could listen without having to order more of those expensive records.

But who knows what would/could happen with YouTube. They are, after all, a centralized corporation and could at any moment decide to sell, dissolve, get hacked, or censor anything at any time. As a pleb, an entity like YouTube seems too big for anything like that to happen, but if you really think about it, large companies and organizations shift constantly like the sands on a beach.

Think about Kodak, or Compaq, or the 8-track player and of course Blockbuster (which even has a DAO dedicated to it). Have you ever tried converting or transferring files stored on or made with any of these old products? It’s a real pain in the ass, even if you own the footage/data stored.  Imagine if Kodak or Compaq had the ability to owned that footage or data at the time. Companies that we took for granted as gigantic mainstays, seemed to dissolve almost overnight. So if Kodak owned your photos, you’d be screwed. 

Unless you have the gold, cash, a vinyl record, a book, or papyrus document in your hand, or locked in a safe in your house, if it is online, for the most part nowadays, unless it is on a blockchain, it is stored in a server owned by a centralized and hierarchical organization. In the past, digital items did not even seem real to people. Digital = fairydust. Not real. A digital asset is a new concept. As a result, we have not placed the same vigilance toward ownership and preservation of them like we have for IRL assets. We are now using digital assets everyday. We log in to websites for our bills, insurance, social life, government docs, etc... We are held liable for things we say and do in the digital realm. If you look at many people’s Facebook profiles, you will find a lifetime of thoughts, images, and interaction with other people. Those lives are effectively owned by Facebook.

The version I made of the podcast I made with my parents is pretty much owned by YouTube. I do have a copy of it on my computer, but if my computer gets damaged and I have not preserved the file, then it is gone to the dissipating sands of time. Our most valued possessions and memories, of those we love need to be owned by us, if those items are digital, then aside from converting those to the physical realm by printing, minting, pressing, painting, or etching them there has been no way to own them. That is why I pressed the vinyl record.

Everything, even the records I made,  eventually gets overcome by the power of time and we all get forgotten about right? So it doesn’t matter, right? This nihilistic view may be right, but it’s depressing, and I don't want to live like that. Even if we are only temporary and not real or permanent, I at least want to be hopeful and happy. We never know the potential resilience a memory or story will play into someone else’s life down the road. 

The vinyl record pressed with the ashes embedded

So yes, I have this vinyl record I made. How long will it stand the test of time? Will the next generations even listen, or care? I guess I can't control that, but I can at least give the option and free will. Another thing I could do it put it on something like Pods.Media or another decentralized podcast platform. Will onchain media be a solution for digital permanence?  Will my Dad’s podcast last longer onchain than on vinyl?  Would my Dad’s podcast last longer in the custody of an entity like a DAO than in my sole possession?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but these are things I am finally being allowed to think about now that I have had the time to sit down and think and process. We are always trying to find new and better ways to preserve our memories, because in the end, that’s all we really have. Now that our memories fully exist in a digital form, we need to preserve those too. Do we even exist without them? Thanks again to the DAO Punks for allowing me this platform and the financial space to move beyond just coping and be able to ponder these questions and process these emotions when I need to the most.

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