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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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This title in other editions

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage)

by

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Proceed carefully. Reading this book is like biting into a jalapeño jelly bean that you thought was pear flavored. Startling, eye-opening, and a bit unnerving, Lanier's manifesto could be the key to preserving autonomy as increased technological integration threatens to reduce the quality of individual experience. Save yourselves — flee the hive mind!
Recommended by Heidi Mager, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 very structure.

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 discourse
  • 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 culture.

Review:

“Persuasive. . . . Lanier is the first great apostate of the Internet era.” Newsweek

Review:

“Thrilling and thought-provoking. . . . A necessary corrective in the echo chamber of technology debates.” San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

“Inspired, infuriating and utterly necessary. . . . Lanier tells of the loss of a hi-tech Eden, of the fall from play into labour, obedience and faith. Welcome to the century’s first great plea for a ‘new digital humanism’ against the networked conformity of cyber-space. This eloquent, eccentric riposte comes from a sage of the virtual world who assures us that, in spite of its crimes and follies, ‘I love the internet.’ That provenance will only deepen its impact, and broaden its appeal.” The Independent (London)

Synopsis:

Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary, offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way technology is transforming lives for better and for worse.

Synopsis:

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.

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307389978
Author:
Lanier, Jaron
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
Technology -- Social aspects.
Subject:
Technological innovations -- Social aspects.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Information technology
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Subject:
technology;internet;computers;non-fiction;culture;philosophy;sociology;science;social media;virtual reality;web;society;information technology;computer;essays;computer science;tech;creativity;humanity;digital
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8 x 5.18 x 0.68 in 0.6 lb

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Related Subjects


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Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » General
Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » History and Society
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Computers and Internet » Internet » General
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Science and Mathematics » Popular Science » Computer Science

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Vintage - English 9780307389978 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Proceed carefully. Reading this book is like biting into a jalapeño jelly bean that you thought was pear flavored. Startling, eye-opening, and a bit unnerving, Lanier's manifesto could be the key to preserving autonomy as increased technological integration threatens to reduce the quality of individual experience. Save yourselves — flee the hive mind!

"Review" by ,

“Persuasive. . . . Lanier is the first great apostate of the Internet era.” Newsweek

"Review" by ,

“Thrilling and thought-provoking. . . . A necessary corrective in the echo chamber of technology debates.” San Francisco Chronicle

"Review" by ,

“Inspired, infuriating and utterly necessary. . . . Lanier tells of the loss of a hi-tech Eden, of the fall from play into labour, obedience and faith. Welcome to the century’s first great plea for a ‘new digital humanism’ against the networked conformity of cyber-space. This eloquent, eccentric riposte comes from a sage of the virtual world who assures us that, in spite of its crimes and follies, ‘I love the internet.’ That provenance will only deepen its impact, and broaden its appeal.” The Independent (London)

"Synopsis" by , Lanier, a Silicon Valley visionary, offers this provocative and cautionary look at the way technology is transforming lives for better and for worse.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

"Synopsis" by , 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.

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