‘You are not a Gadget: A Manifesto’ Jaron Lanier

Reading ‘You are not a Gadget’ gave me a slightly nervous stomach.  My prior perception of the internet was that it is, for the most part, a good thing.  It brings people and businesses together, it allows us to have a wealth of information at our fingertips among so many other positive things.  However Lanier brought up new things that I had never realized before.

It is obvious that there will be an economic shift with respect to technology, but the picture Lanier paints seems as if we are headed down a road fraught with peril without even realizing the consequences of our actions.  When he brought up the point that economies have been somewhat shaky since the inception of the internet I was shocked.  Many of the other things we have read have to do with how the internet is a place of boundless possibilities.  Yet, like with anything else, there is an alternate side to all of the wonderment.

The fact that internet and technology could be hindering economic growth is a frightening thing to think about.  Yet once one is presented with all of the facts and history about the rise of other technologies it is easy to see how an economic transition is a very real possibility.

At the beginning of the book I was curious to see what Lanier’s predictions were about what kind of future it is that we are creating for ourselves.  His proposals on how people could make a living seem ideal.  That being said however he acknowledges how few people are actually making it as independent musicians.  So while he has great ideas, implementing them is another story.  Perhaps, when forced by economic circumstance, people will adapt into the roles that Lanier constructs.  His way of thinking about musicians is much different than the masses think about it, which is the one barrier between his ideas and reality.  Another barrier to his thoughts on musical employment is the fact that there are so few independent musicians out there (which is probably why mass perception of the music industry differs from Lanier).

In his TED talk Lanier mentioned that not everyone agrees with his opinions on the things, which did ease my mind slightly. It is impossible to predict the future, and hopefully economies will be able to adapt to the change as it happens.  Lanier brings up many shockingly valid points and some of them may come to fruition.  An ideal situation to solve this problem (of impending doom) would be to take some points from Shirky, and harness the power of groups organization, in order to solve this dilemma that has been created.


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