Who Owns the Future?

Who Owns the Future?

Book - 2013
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THE DAZZLING NEW MASTERWORK FROM THE PROPHET OF SILICON VALLEY


Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world's most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.

Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world--including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies--now threaten to destroy it.

But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2013
ISBN: 9781451654967
Branch Call Number: 303 .4833 LAN
Characteristics: xvi, 396 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm

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lanovelist
Dec 03, 2013

As I wonder how a news site got a picture that is only on my Facebook profile available only to my friends, I realize Lanier is right. I have traded my privacy for "free stuff." As I listen to my media friends commiserate, how the average consumer expects news to be free, and their small media companies are trying to figure how to make a go of it, I realize Who Owns the Future? posits that the siren servers "own" us. I like his proposed to solution, but I have little hope, that we will find our way there. Enjoyed it. Very cerebral and a little bit scary.

s
StarGladiator
Sep 06, 2013

Overall, Lanier is a nice guy, but simply never appears to grasp the Big Picture, the Grand Design: everything is directed towards rendering the majority into serfdom, command and control of everyone through the destruction of community through Amazon, AirBnB, Uber, TaskRabbit, LawTrades, HouseCall and similar items. When one is always unfamiliar with their // neighbors \\ and fellow workers, et cetera, trying to build any sense of community becomes nearly impossible and against all odds!

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Stratified_nomad
Sep 06, 2013

In some respects "Who Own's the Future" is a continuation of "You Are Not a Gadget!", which discusses the missteps of early web development and how those misstakes -and social media like Facebook- have larvely homogenized humanity and severly curtailed the ability of the creative class to earn a living (file sharing, etc.). While WOTF reiterates some of the some arguments, Lanier focuses more on how what he calls "Siren Servers", specifically: Google, Amazon, and Facebook. He argues that these sites are only nominally free, but are dependent on the data/perspective of their unpaid users. He also argues that automation has the potential to elminate human jobs in virtually every field from health care to transportation. Most of his arguments are convincing, but some of what he forsees seems implausible, at least within the next few decades. For instance, it seems unlikely to me that robot technology will advance enough to replace human nurses anytime soon. Overall, Lanier makes a compelling argument that, as currently strutured, the web and other technology will render many human jobs obsolete unless the dominant techno-centric paradigm is replaced with something more humanistic. While he never pretends to have all the answers, he provides many details of how such a new paradigm might work. However, he doesn't really offer a method for implementation. This was the only minor shortcoming I found with YANAG, and while WOTF is more detailed, to great extent this flaw is repeated. Unlike YANAG -which is more concise- WOTF eventually feels somewhat redundant; it seemed like it could've been about 50 pages shorter. WOTF also contains several "interludes" between chapters. Some of these asides are often interesting and entertaining, and serve as effective illustratations; others only seem tangentially related, are somewhat distracting. Despite it's flaws, Lanier discusses vital issues that few other writers seem concerned with. If his proposed solutions seem inadequate that's more indicative of the monumental issues he describes than of shortcomings on his part.

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