You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
A Manifesto

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Synopsis

A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A programmer, musician, and father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier was a pioneer in digital media, and among the first to predict the revolutionary changes it would bring to our commerce and culture. Now, with the Web influencing virtually every aspect of our lives, he offers this provocative critique of how digital design is shaping society, for better and for worse.
 
Informed by Lanier’s experience and expertise as a computer scientist, You Are Not a Gadget discusses the technical and cultural problems that have unwittingly risen from programming choices—such as the nature of user identity—that were “locked-in” at the birth of digital media and considers what a future based on current design philosophies will bring. With the proliferation of social networks, cloud-based data storage systems, and Web 2.0 designs that elevate the “wisdom” of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and wisdom of individuals, his message has never been more urgent.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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 December 2, 2009 by Vintage. 240 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for You Are Not a Gadget

Kirkus Reviews

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Lanier, an iconoclastic speaker, columnist, computer scientist, musician and innovator of virtual-reality experiments in the 1980s, skewers the degeneration of the modern digital world.

Nov 15 2009 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The New York Times

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In 2006, the artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier published an incisive, groundbreaking and highly controversial essay about “digital Maoism” — about the downside of online collectivism, and the enshrinement by Web 2.0 enthusiasts of the “wisdom of the crowd.” In that manifesto Mr. Lanie...

Jan 14 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The Guardian

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The phrase "hive mind" is thrown around a lot, as is "digital Maoist", especially in discussions of Google founder Larry Page, who (according to Lanier) thinks the internet itself will become conscious.

Feb 20 2011 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The Wall Street Journal

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Online culture is dominated by trivial mashups of the culture that existed before the onset of mashups," Mr. Lanier notes.

Jan 12 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

New York Journal of Books

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in a virtual world of infinite abundance only creativity could ever be in short supply.”As to evidence of a short attention span, the variety of topics Jaron touches on in a short 200 pages include (in no particular order): Freudians, digital Maoists, Web 2.0, cybernetic totalists, the Singularit...

Jan 12 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The Globe and Mail

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Jaron Lanier argues that our cybermania is turning us into autobots programmed with a love of totalitarianism

Feb 19 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The Washington Post

Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: .

May 27 2011 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

Dallas News

Lanier loved the sometimes crude and goofy creativity of the early Web, but he fears and loathes the so-called "hive mind" employed by the Web 2.0 superstars, and the collectivist hubris of those he calls "digital Maoists."

Feb 14 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

Open Letters Monthly

By Jaron Lanier.

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Lanier's vision of the enlightened Web is quirky and lovely, informed by his experiences creating and performing music using virtual and real-world instruments, by his lively play with philosophy and art -- even by his fascination with the cognitive faculties of the squid and the octopus, which f...

Jan 12 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

If you can have a conversation with a simulated person presented by an AI program, can you tell how far you let your personhood degrade in order to make the illusion work for you?” Considering that many technologists eagerly await the Singularity, a time when computers begin to design themselves...

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

Bookmarks Magazine

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...

Jan 03 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The New York Review of Books

If it’s a three-act movie it’s because Zuckerberg screws over more people than a two-act movie can comfortably hold: the Winklevoss twins and Divya Navendra (from whom Zuckerberg allegedly stole the Facebook concept), and then his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (the CFO he edged out of the company)...

Nov 25 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

Open Salon

Rather than provide a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of his arguments, which would, ironically perhaps keep you from buying the book (and I would, in effect, be giving away Lanier's's ideas for free when it is the turning of creatives into peasants that Lanier rails against), I want to focus on a ...

Feb 26 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

http://flavorwire.com

Like this: “Let’s suppose that, back in the 1980s, I had said, ‘In a quarter century, when the digital revolution has made great progress and computer chips are millions of times faster than they are now, humanity will finally win the prize of being able to write a new encyclopedia and a new vers...

Jan 13 2010 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

The New American

But scientistic speculations about the origins of human consciousness are often artifacts of a set of a priori pronouncements about the fundamental nature of the cosmos, which provide very little to support the high view of human nature and creativity which animates many of Lanier’s concerns.

Feb 16 2011 | Read Full Review of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manif...

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