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 people. Something went wrong around the start of the twenty-first century. The crowd was wise. Social networks replaced individual creativity. There were ...Read MoreIn "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 people. Something went wrong around the start of the twenty-first century. The crowd was wise. Social networks replaced individual creativity. There were more places to express ourselves than ever before...yet no one really had anything to say. Does this have to be our future? Showing us the way to a future where individuals mean more than machines, this is a searing manifesto against 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 the year". ("The Times"). Jaron Lanier is a philosopher and computer scientist who has spent his career pushing 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 techniques, Lanier is one of the premier designers and engineers at work today. A 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 Policy.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2009-09-28 Computer scientist and Internet guru Lanier's fascinating and provocative full-length exploration of the Internet's problems and potential is destined to become a must-read for both critics and advocates of online-based technology and culture. Lanier is best known for creating and pioneering the use of the revolutionary computer technology that he named virtual reality. Yet in his first book, Lanier takes a step back and critiques the current digital technology, more deeply exploring the ideas from his famous 2000 Wired magazine article, "One-Half of a Manifesto," which argued against more wildly optimistic views of what computers and the Internet could accomplish. His main target here is Web 2.0, the current dominant digital design concept commonly referred to as "open culture." Lanier forcefully argues that Web 2.0 sites such as Wikipedia "undervalue humans" in favor of "anonymity and crowd identity." He brilliantly shows how large Web 2.0-based information aggregators such as Amazon.com-as well as proponents of free music file sharing-have created a "hive mind" mentality emphasizing quantity over quality. But he concludes with a passionate and hopeful argument for a "new digital humanism" in which radical technologies do not deny "the specialness of personhood." (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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