Aut Labs Story Template: Opt Out of a System that Doesn’t Represent You

1 Feb 2024

Heyo, Hacker! This writing prompt is designed by our friends at Āut Labs with themes and ideas for you to enter the Opt Out Writing contest. Click here to write with this template.

See the contest announcement here. Learn how to enter the contest here.

Theme 1: Opt out of a System that doesn’t represent you.


  1. Autonomy in Decentralized Systems, Collectives and DAOs: Explore the critical role of autonomy in decentralized systems like DAOs. Consider focusing on how Āut’s mission and products (i.e.: Nova, ĀutID, ĀutOS, …) enhance this. You can tell us about Roman’s triumvirates, Greek’s poleis, French communes - or some role-based, [dys/u]topian society that is yet to come.
  2. Autonomy in Art, Technology, and Activism: Remember the “hacker labs” in the Berlin of the 90ies? We love that vibe. Consider the intersection of autonomy in art, technology, and activist reforms - highlighting innovative approaches based on autonomy of one or multiple parties. As well as how these parties can play together to take down a censoring, centralized, self-absorbed Moloch.
  3. Autonomy in the Workplace: Tell us a story on how a “workplace of the future” may look like. Are we aiming towards a dystopian, whole-state surveillance, or towards the highest level of individual autonomy and collective productivity that humankind has ever seen? Anything worse? Anything in between? Reshape the future workplace and work culture, especially imagining a world where decentralized organizations actually made it.
  4. Role-specific Autonomy: 50 shades of Autonomy. Is autonomy different for DeFi degens vs. artists & writers vs. political scientists & philosophers vs. governance vs. devs & mathematicians? Feel free to tackle them all at once, tell us a story about one of them - or create a role-based governance model that is going to take the future generations by storm.
  5. Collective Autonomy: Square and simple. What is Collective Autonomy, isn't it a paradox in terms, and what does that even mean? Yeah, all that jazz. You can take a mathematical angle, invent new game-theorical rules of the game, or just make up a story that even for a second lets us suspend our disbeliefs.


  1. Identity in the Digital Space: What is identity in the digital space? Is it a mere reflection of what we are offline, or is it an augmented version of ourselves? Is there a “minimum viable tech stack” that can be combined to create verifiable individuals? This is an open prompt - feel free to take it from a technical or philosophical standpoint. And be provocative - we aim for non-trivial answers only on how digital technologies enable new forms of identity, personal expression and verification.
  2. The History of Identity: That’s an obvious one. How identity evolved over the centuries. Did we “mature” as a society? Did technology change what we are as individuals? Are humans different in their [self-awareness; proprioception; way to perceive others] or we did nothing but taking a long stroll from Stone Age to Technocracy?
  3. Collective Identity: we talk DAOs, distributed nations, on-chain agencies. But what are individuals within groups? Is collective intelligence a “flattening model” that blurs individuality within collectives, or it turns each individual actor into a needed, recognizable tile of the puzzle? And what is the threshold between individual and collective identity? This is a difficult one - new models, visual graphs, and brand-new, DAO-shaking processes are encouraged.
  4. On-chain Identities: from Metaverses and NFTs, to basic PGP and SSIDs. How can an ID be as unstoppable, and uncensorable on one side, as it is credible, and reliable on the other? Please, be as geeky as needs be - use your tech-knowledge and understanding as an act of civil disobedience.
  5. The Evolution of Identity in Decentralized Societies: This is our Sci-fi prompt. Tell us stories. Speculate on how identity will evolve in decentralized societies. On how they will impact individuality. For this prompt you can share your tech journal, tell us personal identity narratives, or even invent on-chain personas and breed them to NFT perpetual life. Whatever works.


  1. The Essence of Self-Sovereignty: What is self-sovereignty? Why it matters? “Sovereignty” is already a long, difficult word per se - so why did we even feel the need to add the prefix “self-” there? This is all about the inalienable individuals’ right to privacy and selective disclosure. Give us self-sovereignty straight, or explore it in a specific context.

  2. Self-Sovereignty in Action: Provide real-world examples or case studies where self-sovereignty is effectively implemented. Can’t find any? Even better. Make one up, and let’s make it happen together.

  3. Balancing Self-Sovereignty and Collective Responsibility: This is a big one. As the Anarchist proverb goes, one can only be free if everyone else is free. But what are the borders of this personal freedom? Should self-sovereignty self-enforce in decentralized social/community contracts? Or we should somehow “hardwire” a sort of collective ethos beforehand, into the decentralized smart contracts that will govern us all?

  4. Self-Sovereignty in Financial Systems: Think of DeFi credit score, think of UBI. Is a self-sovereign, verifiable ID enough to automate the individual and collective distribution of wealth? Or we still need/want/expect “watchmen” to supervise that all goes smooth - and to potentially deem liable if something goes wrong?

  5. To Sybil or not to Sybil: Should we really be limited by old-world concepts such as “1 person : 1 Identity/vote/seat”? Or meritocracy means that we should be able to enforce a self-sovereign right to multiplicity in the digital space, as long as we can handle our multifaceted selves?

Open Prompts:

[#autonomy; #identity; #selfsovereignty] in [insert field]: The old, best writing advise: write about what you know. From literature, to robotics, to the legal system - write about one of the contest topics in relation to a specific field you are deeply knowledgeable or passionate about.

This is a quote that we like, from J.P. Proudhon.

To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.

To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.

That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, The General Idea of the Revolution

Explore it in the key that you like, adherent to one of the three main themes. Or just use it as an inspiration, and write about whatever you want :)