Advisory Board

Brian Holtz, BSc, MSc

Brian Holtz, BSc, MSc is a developer of Internet software and a future-oriented Libertarian theorist and activist. He received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi Honors College (1987), and an M.S. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Michigan (1990). His research focused on genetic algorithms, artificial life, and the philosophical foundations of AI. Since 1990 he has been a developer of Internet software, first at Sun Microsystems and currently at Yahoo. At Sun he worked on an Internet-based open hypertext system that preceded the Worldwide Web, and published the book Tooltalk and Open Protocols: Inter-Application Communication describing his work on a persistent-object messaging system that preceded OMG’s CORBA standard.
In 1992 he accurately predicted several developments in digital media, such as Napster-like file-sharing, the government’s DMCA-style response to such sharing, and the decline of TV commercials due to time-shifting technology like PVRs. In 1993 he wrote a tty-based artificial life simulator named Vita. In Vita, simulated creatures compete, reproduce, and evolve while their behavior is controlled by mutating programs expressed in a Turing-complete programming language called VitaL.
In 2000 he issued a speculative timeline of the future as part of a comprehensive survey of humanity’s future, analyzing impossible and improbable advances, sociological and technological developments, environmental challenges and possible catastrophes. This survey is itself a part of Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits, a systematic hypertext overview of what humanity “does and does not know, and can and cannot know”.
Brian is a member of the national and California Libertarian Party platform committees, and is the two-time Libertarian candidate for Congress in CA14 (Silicon Valley). He advocates the application of rigorous economic science to temper the enthusiasms of both Libertarians and futurists. He is the author of the blog Knowing Humans.