Who Owns the Future?

Who Owns the Future?

Book - 2013
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A visionary innovator of virtual reality evaluates the negative impact of digital network technologies on the economy and particularly the middle class, citing challenges to employment and personal wealth while exploring the potential of a new information economy for stabilizing the middle class and enabling positive growth.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781451654967
Branch Call Number: 303.4833 LAN
303.4833 LAN
Characteristics: xvi, 396 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Jun 12, 2019

This is a friendly and intelligent - and often funny - discussion and critical examination of the "Siren Servers" (aka Facebook, Google, and consumer data aggregators like Axion) and of the networked society. There are many good questions he addresses in a non-dogmatic way and asks many others.

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.

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!

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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