Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2013

Burak Nehbit
Aether
Burak Nehbit
Aether

Aether is an application that provides its users an anonymous and transient public space for intellectual discourse. In response to recent (and not–so–recent) threats to the right to free speech both in the developing and developed worlds, Aether is designed to ensure for its constituents a temporary, mostly untraceable public forum. What — It is a Mac, Windows and Linux desktop application that allows its users to read about topics and subjects other Aether users are talking about. While Aether will happily carry any kind of text, it is designed for grown–ups, and it’s built to incentivize long–form discourse. Everything that is posted on Aether disappears after six months; all posts are public, and are in public domain. How — Being a peerto- peer network, Aether does not require any servers that can be shut down. All exchanges happen between peers, without a third party. Aether is curated by its users; most liked posts always bubble up to the top. Why — Because human discourse is way too important a treasure to be left in the hands of several powerful people. Because free speech is an inalienable human right, and those who are denied it harshest are often ones who need it most. Because the Internet is permanent and Aether is not. Because there is a need for a space where people can screw up, support unpopular beliefs, get in fights, and be humans without worrying about being stamped forever.

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