NM WebDex Y2K20 records the fugitive meanings of New Models’ vernacular as collectively defined by a swarm of NM dark forest dwellers in early 2021.
BIOS Level

In computing, the Basic Input Output System is the kernel of software that bootstraps a computer to startup. NM uses it in reference to that primary level of knowledge/understanding that needs to be addressed when working toward political change. For instance, if someone were to ask, "Why should I pay for another person’s healthcare, especially if they ‘chose' to be unhealthy?" the strongest answer would be one that is legible at the BIOS LEVEL. For instance, rather than pointing out to this person that they are misunderstanding the “choice” in this equation, go directly to the BIOS LEVEL response: e.g., “because if your community is sick, your family is at greater risk of becoming sick too,” etc.

00:33:15 - 00:35:58

LIL INTERNET: This reminds me of a phrase I've been using in our conversations—I don't know if it's quite right in terms of its computer metaphor—but I talked about BIOS level thinking, which is like the basic “what seems right and fair” logic and doesn't have to have any extra stacks or layers of explanation or abstraction it’s...

Carly Busta: ...in all computers, regardless...

LI: Right, it's actually the common sense of what's fair to people. It's often owned by conservatives. And I was thinking right now, you know, everyone's kind of shocked at the socialism of some of the responses to the pandemic, by Trump giving people free money or actually asking for universal health care. You know, before BIOS level thinking it would be like, “well, not everyone should get free health care, like my tax dollars paying for someone else.” But now because the virus is not their fault, it makes sense on this BIOS level. And I'm wondering, especially with you making up terms, and I mean, you just communicated a great defense of woke that would work to someone also on a BIOS level of thinking. I wonder, to this mass market type of person, what are ways you could effectively communicate more compassionate policy to people who are still thinking on the BIOS level when it comes to understanding the world?

CB What’s the BIOS level version of democracy post-COVID like, or...

LI: or what’s a BIOS level version of universal health care, just do a simple one

Venkatesh Rao: The way you're using “BIOS level” is kind of related to how I use “log level.” So I would say BIOS level is sort of the algorithmic counterpart to log level as the set of events, the stream of events that creates is what I would call the log levels. But yeah, to go back to your point of times and normal day-to-day patterns of life or not being disrupted, it's very easy to take political positions and stances based on sort of abstract affiliations or concern. So most people pick ideologies based on, “Alright, here's my pattern of life, I kind of am lazy, and I don't want to make any changes. And here are a bunch of people who kind of think like me, so I'm going to basically say, a plus-one to everything this group of people thinks”... that's the level at which people pick ideology. It's not considered evaluation of positions. It's not considered philosophical analysis. It's like, literally, “This is my lifestyle. And this is the minimum energy way of perpetuating it. And these are the set of people who are saying things that sound like it would preserve this lifestyle. Therefore, I will just sign on to everything they say.” That's the default. I don't take people's ideological positions very seriously, to be honest. Like when somebody declares, “I'm a libertarian” or “I'm a conservative” or “I'm reactionary” or “I'm a liberal”—I basically completely ignore that.