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.
Also huffduffed as…
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.
Jaron Lanier is a pioneering computer scientist, a creator of virtual reality, a musician, and the author of You Are Not a Gadget, which takes a skeptical view of the role we have given technology in our lives. Contrary to a view that the internet encourages creativity (with its infinite possibilities to share content), Lanier worries that it discourages originality and uniqueness in the generation that’s grown up with social media and broadband.
“If your paradigm of reality is that there’s a network structure in place and you fit into it, there are two positions — a peripheral node or a central node. That has profound implications for the way they approach science, art, and creativity,” Lanier says. “There’s a sense that the network encompasses everything. Kids embrace a worldview in which every category of knowledge is already precategorized, and you’re filling in pieces. Ambition becomes one of climbing the network, rather than penetrating further into the mystery that surrounds us.”
Lanier is an advisor to Studio 360’s Science and Creativity series, and gave this talk at the 2012 meeting of our advisory board.
Jaron Lanier, philosopher, digital guru and architect of Virtual Reality, is worried.
Individual creativity has begun to go out of fashion. Machines, specifically computers, are no longer just tools to be used by the human mind - these days, we treat them as if they are altogether better than humans.
Join Jaron Lanier as he delivers a call to arms against digital collectivism and proposes richer, more productive ways in which technology might interact with our culture.
Chair: Nico Macdonald, writer and consultant on design, technology and innovation