You Are Not a Gadget A Manifesto

Epub Read You Are Not a Gadget A Manifesto ´ Jaron Lanier – Ô In You are Not a Gadget digital guru and virtual

Three Barnyard Tales yAspects of online life It s difficult to argue that online culture hasn t brought out the ugliest aspects of human nature on occasion Anonymity breeds not only snarkiness but cruelty ignorance and even on occasion harassment and intimidation And while I think Lanier drifts off point a bit with regards digital culture s influence on music Seriously who cares what someone looks like when they re listening to music he has a point that the internet seems to have brought on retreads remixes and retro whatevers Who can listen to the The Strokes or Interpol or Fleet Foxes or any of a number of other indie bands and not hear the past pulsing through the speakers and these are the best of these retro bands And while the web has brought about an explosion of text that makes a reader like me feel some optimism too often I see people write off no pun intended anything longer than a paragraph with the dreaded tl dr tag And don t get me started on the mashup culture that exists on the web How many times have I seen someone on Tumblr say You didn t give me credit for that Terry Richardson photo I posted earlier Huh What I think Lanier is wrong about and the reason this book didn t destroy my faith in social media is that so much of how I experience social media seems to affirm the best of what Lanier hopes for from the web I freuently write blog posts that took me weeks to write as freuently as one can write such posts while working full time I ve attempted and sometimes succeeded in finding ways to use twitter facebook and YouTube to get people to work together on a collaborative project The I like Coldplay therefore that defines me on Facebook argument that Lanier puts forward doesn t hold a lot of sway for me I don t troll for friends by looking for similar cultural totems though I will occasionally seek friendship with someone online based on a thoughtful blog post or Goodreads review they ve written I think services like Twitter and Tumblr have enriched my life by presenting me with a feed of useful information and entertainment albeit some of it inane and while Facebook seems determined to be as juvenile as possible it has helped me keep abreast of my friends lives in ways I never could have beforeI should note that the book ends with a dose of optimism including some science writing that wouldn t be out of place in a Malcolm Gladwell book Additionally this book went a long way towards explaining to me why some people feel a sense of glee when old media companies struggle It all plays into their dreams for what the future holds a world where we re all immortal in the cloud In the end this was a thought provoking book that I would recommend to anyone who thinks deeply about the internet It may not change howou view the web but it might make A Short History of Ireland, 1500-2000 you reconsider that anonymous commentou were thinking about posting Amongst other things Lanier has opened my eyes to the fact that in a world both just and ideally situated for a continuation of the entrepreneurial capitalist culture that has ra As a disclaimer Jaron Lanier was roommates with Richard Stallman with whom I had a bit of an argument regarding epistemology while I was attending a conference at Harvard Law School a few If an Elephant Went to School years back I wasoung and freshly baccalaureated with a degree in philosophy and I realized that Richard Stallman while by all accounts an excellent coder was a miserable philosopher Unfortunately his former roommate isn t much better either as a philosopher a sociologist or a musicologist You Are Not a Gadget while good grist for the mill of anyone concerned with augmented reality is simply too shallow on every front It s a shame because Lanier is calling for rigor and engagement with the world rather than being a gadget that fits into the gadget sized holes of Facebook Twitter Goodreads or any other Web 20 machine and he lets us down with his inability to move beyond his own intuitive rejection of the Social WebNot that the book is awful it s got some very striking moments The best is when Lanier a wild eyed technological optimist from way back Back when virtual reality sounded nigh awesome bemoans the flagship products OF OUR RADICAL EGALITARIAN OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY A UNIX our radical egalitarian open source community a UNIX and an encyclopedia The former is a Morse Code for Radio Amateurs youthful 40ears old compared to the latter which dates back a brisk 500 The Ideal Muslim Society years according to Wikipedia He rightly attacks the normative nature of files and code but oversteps with his constant rejection of MIDI which sounds fresh untilou realize that musicologists have been developing new musical codes for ears as evidenced by the 1996 Beyond MIDI The Handbook of Musical Codes which in its introduction does a better job of criticizing MIDI while drawing out constructive lessons than Lanier managesBut this isn t an old hippie who hates the future and the predictable denouncements of Lanier by SlashDot folks that also predictably didn t read his book actually support his intuition It s unfortunate that he didn t move beyond that intuition So many biologists physicists and computer scientists think that the study of knowledge and society were the easy subjects back in school and figured that coding in C was much difficult than understanding exceptionless moral norms But just as they would mock poorly written code I m forced to pan their poorly explored humanist inuiries I had DECIDED TO GIVE THIS FOUR to give this four stars then I read the other Goodreads I could see was giving it five or one based on whether or not they agreed My personal favourite review was one where the reviewer hadn t read the book at all but had read a New York Times review of the book and reviewed the book based on that alone I don t know if the author would find that hilarious or horrifying as it both validates his entire thesis and goes against everything the book hopes to inspireSo I don t agree with everything but I agree with the base underlying idea we humans and our internet are both far complicated interesting and vast than the current trend of web applications can hope to contain and it does us a great disservice to lower ourselves to the level of database entriesMy uestion as my friend Craig knows is always then how do we fix it I need to think on that I had a lot of these ideas before but never had them worded uite so clearlyand it seems it s time to think on it all again Because if we the technopriests to borrow our 1995 terminology can t be bothered to lead the flock to a better world then we deserve the world we get and are getting And that world kinda horrifies me to be honest. G the transformative power of modern technology to its limits From coining the term 'Virtual Reality' and creating the world's first immersive avatars to developing cutting edge medical imaging and surgical techniues Lanier is one of the premier designers and engineers at work todayA musician with a collection of over 700 instruments he has been recognised by Encyclopedia Britannica but certainly not Wikipedia as one of history's greatest inventors and named one of the top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Prospect and Foreign Poli. Mental and stiflingThroughout Gadget Lanier tackles parts of internet culture that I would never have seen as issues before like the open source movement for instance Lanier maintains a civil appreciation for open source technology and acknowledges its wide appeal but also is unafraid to point out what so many open source proponents myself included often refuse to admit the open source atmosphere is hardly generating innovation Similarly Lanier points out that for all its anticipated boons to creativity or the distribution of creative expressions like music the internet has hardly changed how expressions of culture are created or distributed The internet which has the potential to be a radically revolutionary force in how humans interact create and share is akin today to an armchair activist dreaming big but hardly changing a thingI can t say I agree with everything Lanier writes But much of his manifesto is so utterly original and unfamiliar that reading it forced me to challenge my own way of thinking I see the internet in a new light now and will be thinking hard about how I interact with it in the future Whether ou love Facebook or hate it never log on or never log off Lanier s uniue perspective will give Marcus Garvey you plenty to think about Reading this book was like sitting next toour drunk uncle at Thanksgiving and listening to his rant full of unsubstatiated uninformed opinions stated like they were the words of God himself To be fair the author does warn the reader that the negativity will eventually end and that the end of the book has some positive messages but I never got to the positive part The concepts of the internet making us dumber as a people were all very well written opinions Unfortunately the data backing up the claims was nonexistent If FRIENDLY ENEMIES you re going to say that all of the media online mashups edits etc is simply a rehashing of old media then give us some statistics Give us some data that backs upour very strong opinions Overall the concept for the book was sound but it came off as fanatical and based solely on the author s personal feelings despite his heavy immersion into the advancements in technology I will mention one positive thing about the book The chapter headings were very good Short interesting and slightly ambiguous they made me want to read the chapter to see what was going on But even those lost their luster and I only made it a third of the way through This book is all jism and dope smoke Jaron Lanier is really really bothered by a laundry list of standard arch conservative nemeses Marxism today s kids filesharing the breakdown of the social contract foreigners stealing our jobs as well as a basket of useful et imperfect modern technologies Wikipedia Blogs MIDI Linux He is aware of a sinister cabal of cybernetic totalists who are hard at work on a machine to xerox his brain and force him to use Facebook to meet girls But they ll never win because humans are special as PROVEN by the magical fact that Jaron Lanier cannot describe what makes humans special Meanwhile the Internet is full of trolls nobody speaks HTML any and Jaron can t make a living as a musician Clearly the Digital End Times are at hand He wants to lay the blame on a digital culture that s too standardized and too free on the evils of open source software and democratic communicationWell he had his chance to do that and he flubbed it Jaron Lanier cannot construct a convincing argument only about half the time can he even link two paragraphs He contradicts himself whenever it is convenient to do so He regularly starts a section with the assertion of a Great Digital Evil the record industry is dying bloggers don t spell check then insinuates a link to his vague overarching thesis When he does try to convince a skeptical reader of the connection he usually fails often he just mutters Clearly there is a connection I guess he s trying to win over the reader he just mutters Clearly there is a connection I guess he s trying to win over the reader the depth and emotional sincerity of his whining plea for sanity I feel bad for whoever buys itThen he spends the last uarter of the book trying to convince us that whatever random projects he s been working on lately are intimately connected with his desire to save the world from the Great Digital Evil he has not uite described Apparently people need to be like suids while remaining uniuely special humans of course Also financial contracts should be written in LISP And pop songs should live in coffee mugs so they can t be downloaded I kid ou notJaron I many other computer nerds over forty have lived through a bona fide computer revolution over the last two decades But Jaron s memory of the facts is somewhat different than mine He s good at spinning sad scary arns about the evolution of the Internet of paradises promised and lost but he s regularly full of shit I won t call it lying because I m sure it s true to him but the real history is out there and can be looked up This book has ten pages of index but cites NO REFERENCES I would love to see it ruthlessly fact checked but apparently Allen Lane Publishing a Penguin imprint is too hobbled by the impending sad scary obsolescence of literature to employ a fact checker Or maybe they just figured the book wouldn t survive the processI still think there s something creepy out there I still think the internet doesn t survive the processI still think there s something creepy out there I still think the internet doesn t as rosy as it used to and I still think Facebook is a big fat waste of time both human and computational I think the ways software can control its users are important to recognize and beware of But this book is just a paranoid incoherent neoliberal bitchfest with digital pretensions from Jaron Lanier of all people UPDATE Jaron collected his thoughts found a real editor and wrote a much better book Read that one instead Ever since I read about this book at Bookavore s excellent blog I feared this book How could I not I m currently employed by a social media company Surely this manifesto would make me rethink my career my hobbies how I spend my time It had the potential to be a paradigm shifting reading experience the kind of experience I hadn t had since reading The Omnivore s Dilemma a few ears backThat it didn t realign my thinking on all things digital thankfully is not entirely Lanier s fault Though I found his prose to be too verbose at times If Crochet you read something written by someone who used the term single in a custom composed uniue sentenceou will inevitably get a first whiff of the subtle experience of the author something Playhouse you would not get from a multiple choice database he writes convincingly about many troubling. Ainst mass mediocrity a creative call to arms and an impassioned defence of the human'A provocative and sure to be controversial book Lucid powerful and persuasive'   The New York Times'There is hardly a page that does not contain some fascinating provocation'    Guardian'Short and frightening from a position of real knowledge and insight'Zadie Smith New York Review of Books'Poetic and prophetic this could be the most important book of theear'    The TimesJaron Lanier is a philosopher and computer scientist who has spent his career pushin. UPDATED 1513 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 this book is that much of current internet interface design so called Web 20 is hazardous to users certain specific popular internet designs of the moment not the internet as a whole tend to pull us into life patterns that gradually degrade the ways in which each of us exists as individuals These unfortunate designs are oriented toward treating people as relays in a global brain He takes issue as well with the idea that content should not have to be paid for the idea that information should be free sounds good at first But the unintended result is that all the clout and money generated online has begun to accumulate around people close to only certain highly secretive computers many of which are essentially spying operations designed to sell advertising and access or to pull money out of a marketplace as if by black magic The motives of the people who comprise the online elites aren t necessarily badbut nevertheless the structure of the online economy as it has developed is hurting the middle class and the viability of capitalism for everyone in the long termHe points out that those who make their living from creativity writers artists photographers designers are under an all out assault by on line providers eager to deliver art only as a means of generating ad revenue to themselves not the creatives who actually produce content Lanier sees the rise of what he calls digital serfdom et another attack on the middle class With the bi polar tax code in the US that punishes actual work the demise of support for working people by a viable liberal Democratic Party and the off shoring of as much work as possible by capital that encounters fewer and fewer limitations on trans national transit the middle class does not need et another drain on our resources and ability to earn a living et here it is Lanier makes a compelling case that value in the form of dollars accumulates increasingly in the pockets of internet giants like Google and and the ability for individual content producers to make a living from their creative product is declining And further that any economic gains we might see from technological advances will be swallowed up by the really big fish leaving us ultimately worse off the notion that cheaper computers smartphones etc will compensate for the growing economic gap is just not true Ultimately mounting poverty will outpace cost savings and everyone will suffer We can t count on anything but a strong middle class to maintain many things dear to us widespread self determination and liberty a dynamic commercial market filled with surprises and a democracy that can t be bought because ordinary people have enough clout to stand up for themselves Some of the current popular online designs as appealing as they might seem at first are leading us away from these wonderful thingsThe rest is details But the details are pretty interesting Lanier goes into specifics re how users are being sliced diced and re sold like toxic assets as the extant interfaces rely increasingly on our giving up and of ourselves There are loftier concepts in the air as well in the book Lanier looks at what he calls the hive mind and examines assumptions regarding the likelihood of artificial consciousness arising from increasingly vast connected cloud computer resourcesHe examines why it is that software advances cannot match Moore s Law namely that hardware efficiency software advances cannot match Moore s Law namely that hardware efficiency every 18 months Current software at any time is of necessity the tip we see of a very large icebergLanier dabbles into the implication of things like NCLBwhat computerized analysis of all the country s school tests has done to education is exactly what Facebook has done to friendships In both cases life is turned into a databaseLanier offers a wealth of intriguing ideas in this relatively small volume I was most fascinated with what he had to say about cephalopods and a possible source for our species appreciation of metaphor I enjoyed the book and it made me think but I also must confess that I drifted a bit while reading some of the latter chapters Sometimes he wanders afield Otherwise You are Not a Gadget made me hopeful that at least some people are aware of the darker implications of current trends and are thinking about not only how we got here but some ways in which we might avoid some of the problems that are beginning to emergeUPDATESJanuary 5 2013 I came across this fascinating interview with the author in Smithsonian magazineAugust 24 2020 G The Conscience of Silicon Valley By Zach Baron on the fulfillment of Lanier s predictions and possible correctives looking forward This is a slim book that should have been slimmer In fact it should probably have been a couple of articles in Wired Magazine instead I think the Wired readership is pretty much the core target audience for this book The author is a long time software engineer musician and philosopher of technology I m not sure I ve ever read any book by a philosopher of technology but that s definitely what he is upside of that approach is that he Lanier is something different altogether he is an original It took longer than expected to read this book but I loved learning that there was someone who was thinking about our human connection by electronic device Computer expression is a result of and limited by human biology Therefore it is entirely appropriate to consider them together Lanier discus As anyone who knows me could tell ou I m a pretty heavy internet user I m on Facebook Twitter Google and reddit I ve kept a smartphone on me since freshman Dannys Dragon (Tao of Love, year of college and I use it regularly The internet is a rather inextricable part of my lifeJaron Lanier is a techie too he s been involved in technological innovation since the 70s And he too loves the internet But Lanier is also a philosopher and a humanist and in You Are Not a Gadget he turns a critical eye toward the growing role of the internet in our daily lives asking how it s affecting things like our creative expression our views of the economy and even our senses of self and personhood The ways we interact with the internet Lanier argues are decidedly anti human and if we want to set a better course for technology we ought to do that soon before the legacy of our technology becomes monu. In You are Not a Gadget digital guru and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier reveals how the internet is deadening personal interaction stifling genuine inventiveness and even changing us as peopleSomething went wrong around the start of the twenty first century The crowd was wise Social networks replaced individual creativity There were places to express ourselves than ever beforeet no one really had anything to sayDoes this have to be our futureShowing us the way to a future where individuals mean than machines this is a searing manifesto ag. .

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You Are Not a Gadget A Manifesto

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