Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

55%

15 Critic Reviews

Who Owns the Future? is non-linear, hyperactive, non-sequitur filled, maddening to read, and ultimately unsatisfying...Coming soon to garage sales...and birdcage liners near you.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

The “brilliant” and “daringly original” (The New York Times) critique of digital networks from the “David Foster Wallace of tech” (London Evening Standard)—asserting that to fix our economy, we must fix our information economy.

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.
 

About Jaron Lanier

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Jaron Lanier is a scientist and musician best known for his work in Virtual Reality research, a term he coined and popularized. Time named him one of the “Time 100” in 2010. He lives in Berkeley, California.
 
Published May 7, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 449 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Who Owns the Future?
All: 15 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Below average
on Apr 08 2013

...these concepts are so lost in a heap of digressions, interludes and fables...that the signal-to-noise ratio may prove to be too much for all but the most dedicated tech readers.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on May 05 2013

Mr. Lanier’s sharp, accessible style and opinions make “Who Owns the Future?” terrifically inviting.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Laurence Scott on Feb 27 2013

...he tellingly questions the trajectory of economic value in the information age, and argues that there has been a fundamental misstep in how capitalism has gone digital.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Laurence Scott on Feb 27 2013

And yet one of the triumphs of Lanier's intelligent and subtle book is its inspiring portrait of the kind of people that a democratic information economy would produce.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Steven Levy on May 30 2013

...Mr. Lanier makes a plausible case that his model may well be superior to our current unfair system.

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NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Robert Schaefer on May 07 2013

Who Owns the Future? is non-linear, hyperactive, non-sequitur filled, maddening to read, and ultimately unsatisfying...Coming soon to garage sales...and birdcage liners near you.

Read Full Review of Who Owns the Future? | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

The Telegraph

Above average
Reviewed by Matt Warman on Mar 03 2013

Lanier makes a persuasive case, and it’s hard to dispute his suggestions for the future until we get there. History, thankfully, suggests he will be proven wrong.

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Slate

Below average
Reviewed by Will Oremus on May 03 2013

Lanier’s mind is so far-ranging, leaping from Aristotle to digital copyright in a single bound, that it often requires mental acrobatics just to follow the thread of his argument. When you reach the end, you may find yourself winded but no closer to any actionable conclusions than you were before. Still, it’s an exercise well worth performing...

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Cleveland.com

Above average
Reviewed by Earl Pike on May 10 2013

...Lanier moderates a critical discussion about putting humans back at the center of technological developments, and revaluing human information at the heart of network value. So: Break into small (virtual) groups, and discuss.

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Scotsman.com

Above average
Reviewed by TABITHA STEVENSON on Mar 23 2013

This book may only be sporadically intelligible to most readers but Lanier is always good company...Lanier – “Your always amused author” – is the David Foster Wallace of tech.

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Daily Kos

Below average
Reviewed by gmoke on Aug 11 2013

By the end of the book, I enjoyed Lanier's personality and truly believe he is trying to think through hard problems though without the intellectual tools to do so, no matter how surely he seems to believe that he does.

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The Verge

Below average
Reviewed by R. U. Sirius on May 23 2013

...the section of Who Owns The Future? which proposes a solution starts to get tedious. It’s not gonna happen. And after a while, the reader may start to feel as if she is stuck in a room with a smart engineer on stimulants who is taking his late-night “If I ruled the world” fantasy too seriously...

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http://www.zdnet.com

Above average
Reviewed by Mary Branscombe on May 09 2013

This is a wide-ranging, discursive, and deliberately provocative book. Lanier is even-handedly critical of social networks (both Reddit and Facebook), search engines, intelligence agencies, singularity enthusiasts, naïve utopian libertarians...

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https://www.bostonglobe.com

Below average
Reviewed by Hiawatha Bray on May 28 2013

On all these matters, Lanier offers hardly a clue. By his own admission, he hasn’t thought it all out yet, which explains the book’s rambling and ill-organized style. Too bad. We desperately need answers to the problems described in this fascinating, frustrating book. But you won’t find them here.

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http://www.goodreports.net

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Good on Nov 20 2014

...it’s an interesting alternative that highlights much that is wrong with the present system as well as the likely roots of its eventual and inevitable demise.

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Reader Rating for Who Owns the Future?
79%

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