This week Jaron Lanier — composer, performer, computer scientist, philosopher and pioneer of virtual reality — gets seriously sceptical about somebody a lot of people think of as a hero: Julian Assange. The Internet, according to Lanier, was influenced in equal degrees by 1960s romanticism and cold war paranoia. If the political world becomes a mirror of the Internet, then the world will be restructured around secretive digital power centres surrounded by a sea of chaotic, underachieving openness. WikiLeaks is such a centre. It’s the world of nerd supremacy.
Also huffduffed as…
The object of Wikileaks is to dismantle the conspiracies that, according to its founder, rule the world. But what is a conspiracy and are you part of one? According to Assange, it’s possible to be a member of conspiracy without even knowing that you are. This week, we look at Julian Assange’s political philosophy and his view of the world as a network of conspiracies.
Jaron Lanier, pioneering computer scientist, musician, visual artist, and author, discusses his book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. Lanier discusses effects of the web becoming “regularized” and dangers he sees with “hive mind” production, which he claims leads to “crummy design.” He also explains why he thinks advertising is a misnomer, contending that modern advertising is more about access to potential consumers than expressive or creative form. Lanier also advocates for more peer-to-peer rather than hub-and-spoke transactions, discusses why he’s worried about the disappearance of the middle class, claims that “free” isn’t really free, talks about libertarian ideals, and explains why he’s ultimately hopeful about the future.
Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author.
In his new book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, he discusses what he believes to be the biggest problem on the web today: intellectual piracy.
Initially, Lanier was one of the early digital leaders that praised the possibilities of the Internet and was optimistic about its uses for musicians, artists, scientists, and developers. He has since come to the realization that the intellectual collective that the Internet has fostered may have come at the expense of individual creativity.
Lanier’s new book is a manifesto against "open culture" in which he posits a new theory against hive mentality. He argues the Internet has produced a new social contract in which the work of creatives has become public domain, the property of the majority.