You Are Not a Gadget
Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s, was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web would bring to commerce and culture. Now, in his first book, written more than two decades after the web was created, Lanier offers this provocative and cautionary... show more
Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s, was among the first to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web would bring to commerce and culture. Now, in his first book, written more than two decades after the web was created, Lanier offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way it is transforming our lives for better and for worse.The current design and function of the web have become so familiar that it is easy to forget that they grew out of programming decisions made decades ago. The web’s first designers made crucial choices (such as making one’s presence anonymous) that have had enormous—and often unintended—consequences. What’s more, these designs quickly became “locked in,” a permanent part of the web’s very structure. Lanier discusses the technical and cultural problems that can grow out of poorly considered digital design and warns that our financial markets and sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter are elevating the “wisdom” of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and judgment of individuals. Lanier also shows:How 1960s antigovernment paranoia influenced the design of the online world and enabled trolling and trivialization in online discourseHow file sharing is killing the artistic middle class;How a belief in a technological “rapture” motivates some of the most influential technologistsWhy a new humanistic technology is necessary.Controversial and fascinating, You Are Not a Gadget is a deeply felt defense of the individual from an author uniquely qualified to comment on the way technology interacts with our culture.
Publish date: January 12th 2010
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pages no: 221
Edition language: English
, Computer Science
Lanier's disarming modesty comes off as lack of confidence in his argument, or a collection of mere opinions, which is disappointing for such a thought provoking book. It is good to hear criticism of the prevailing mode of thought, but I wish it was a little less contradictory and smacked less of a...
This book is a powerful criticism of the negative aspects of the Web 2.0 movement. Lanier does a good job of explaining the reductionism that occurs when our individuality is forced into frameworks like Facebook to be mined in the digital cloud. Cloud computing, AI, the Singularity, and the effect...
I would like to give this work a higher rating, but I'm afraid it's a bit too hard to read. That said, I think anyone who is interested in our future as a species should spend some time with Lanier and this manifesto, because he raises some pertinent questions about what technology does to us as hum...
UPDATED - 1/5/13 - at bottomThere are many ideas floating about in the mind of Jaron Lanier, the guy who popularized the term virtual reality, was with Atari in the beginning and has, for decades, been involved with VR as a teacher, consultant and architect. One of his notions, the core argument of ...