Dimensions: 224 pages, 3.44 × 2.3 × 0.35 in
Published: March 22, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307269647
ISBN - 13: 9780307269645
About the Book
Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary, offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way technology is transforming lives for better and for worse.
Read from the Book
an apocalypse of self- abdication THE IDEAS THAT I hope will not be locked in rest on a philosophical foundation that I sometimes call cybernetic totalism. It applies metaphors from certain strains of computer science to people and the rest of reality. Pragmatic objections to this philosophy are presented. What Do You Do When the Techies Are Crazier Than the Luddites? The Singularity is an apocalyptic idea originally proposed by John von Neumann, one of the inventors of digital computation, and elucidated by figures such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil. There are many versions of the fantasy of the Singularity. Here’s the one Marvin Minsky used to tell over the dinner table in the early 1980s: One day soon, maybe twenty or thirty years into the twenty- first century, computers and robots will be able to construct copies of themselves, and these copies will be a little better than the originals because of intelligent software. The second generation of robots will then make a third, but it will take less time, because of the improvements over the first generation. The process will repeat. Successive generations will be ever smarter and will appear ever faster. People might think they’re in control, until one fine day the rate of robot improvement ramps up so quickly that superintelligent robots will suddenly rule the Earth. In some versions of the story, the robots are imagined to be microscopic, forming a “gray goo” that eats the Earth; or else the int
From the Publisher
Jaron Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s, was among
the first to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web
would bring to commerce and culture. Now, in his first book,
written more than two decades after the web was created, Lanier
offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way it is
transforming our lives for better and for worse.
The current design and function of the web have become so familiar
that it is easy to forget that they grew out of programming
decisions made decades ago. The web's first designers made crucial
choices (such as making one's presence anonymous) that have had
enormous-and often unintended-consequences. What's more, these
designs quickly became "locked in," a permanent part of the web's
Lanier discusses the technical and cultural problems that can grow
out of poorly considered digital design and warns that our
financial markets and sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter
are elevating the "wisdom" of mobs and computer algorithms over the
intelligence and judgment of individuals.
Lanier also shows:
How 1960s antigovernment paranoia influenced the design of the
online world and enabled trolling and trivialization in online
How file sharing is killing the artistic middle class;
How a belief in a technological "rapture" motivates some of the
most influential technologists
Why a new humanistic technology is necessary.
Controversial and fascinating, You Are Not a Gadget
is a deeply felt defense of the individual from an author uniquely
qualified to comment on the way technology interacts with our
About the Author
Jaron Lanier is known as the father of virtual reality technology and has worked on the interface between computer science and medicine, physics, and neuroscience. He lives in Berkeley, California.
“A provocative and sure-to-be-controversial book . . . Lucid, powerful and persuasive. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “Important . . . At the bottom of Lanier’s cyber-tinkering is a fundamentally humanist faith in technology, a belief that wisely designed machines can bring us closer together by expanding the possibilities of creative self-expression . . . His mind is a fascinating place to hang out.” —Ben Ehrenreich, Los Angeles Times “Persuasive . . . [Lanier] is the first great apostate of the Internet era.” —David Wallace-Wells, Newsweek “Thrilling and thought-provoking . . . A necessary corrective in the echo chamber of technology debates. You Are Not a Gadget challenges many dominant ideologies and poses theoretical questions, the answers to which might start with one bright bulb, but depend on the friction of engaged parties. In other words, Lanier is acting like a computer scientist. Let’s hope he is not alone.” —John Freeman, San Francisco Chronicle “A call for a more humanistic—to say nothing of humane—alternative future in which the individual is celebrated more than the crowd and the unique more than the homogenized . . . You Are Not a Gadget may be its own best argument for exalting th