Jaron Lanier Quotes

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A real friendship ought to introduce each person to unexpected weirdness in the other.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one’s anus to one’s mouth.
Jaron Lanier
Emphasizing the crowd means de-emphasizing individual humans in the design of society, and when you ask people not to be people, they revert to bad, mob-like behaviors.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Go to where you are kindest
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people.
Jaron Lanier
Social media is biased, not to the Left or the Right, but downward
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
To free yourself, to be more authentic, to be less addicted, to be less manipulated, to be less paranoid … for all these marvelous reasons, delete your accounts.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Our willingness to suffer for the sake of the perception of freedom is remarkable.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of emphaty and humanity in that process.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
we have repeatedly demonstrated our species's bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
What might once have been called advertising must now be understood as continuous behavior modification on a titanic scale.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Spirituality is committing suicide. Consciousness is attempting to will itself out of existence.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
We cannot have a society, in which, if two people wish to communicate the only way that can happen is if it's financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.
Jaron Lanier
If you want to know what’s really going on in a society or ideology, follow the money. If money is flowing to advertising instead of musicians, journalists, and artists, then a society is more concerned with manipulation than truth or beauty. If content is worthless, then people will start to become empty-headed and contentless.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Information doesn’t deserve to be free. It is an abstract tool; a useful fantasy, a nothing. It is nonexistent until and unless a person experiences it in a useful way.
Jaron Lanier
How can you find happiness without authentic self-esteem? How can you be authentic when everything you read, say, or do is being fed into a judgment machine
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Here’s a non-geeky framing of the same idea: What if listening to an inner voice or heeding a passion for ethics or beauty were to lead to more important work in the long term, even if it measured as less successful in the moment? What if deeply reaching a small number of people matters more than reaching everybody with nothing?
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Individual web pages as they first appeared in the early 1990s had the flavour of person-hood. MySpace preserved some of that flavour, though a process of regularized formatting had begun. Facebook went further, organizing people into multiple-choice identities while Wikipedia seeks to erase point of view entirely. If a church or government were doing these things, it would feel authoritarian, but when technologists are the culprits, we seem hip, fresh, and inventive. People accept ideas presented in technological form that would be abhorrent in any other forms
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
But the Turing test cuts both ways. You can't tell if a machine has gotten smarter or if you've just lowered your own standards of intelligence to such a degree that the machine seems smart. If you can have a conversation with a simulated person presented by an AI program, can you tell how far you've let your sense of personhood degrade in order to make the illusion work for you? People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time. Before the crash, bankers believed in supposedly intelligent algorithms that could calculate credit risks before making bad loans. We ask teachers to teach to standardized tests so a student will look good to an algorithm. We have repeatedly demonstrated our species' bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good. Every instance of intelligence in a machine is ambiguous. The same ambiguity that motivated dubious academic AI projects in the past has been repackaged as mass culture today. Did that search engine really know what you want, or are you playing along, lowering your standards to make it seem clever? While it's to be expected that the human perspective will be changed by encounters with profound new technologies, the exercise of treating machine intelligence as real requires people to reduce their mooring to reality.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Pop culture has entered into a nostalgic malaise. Online culture is dominated by trivial mashups of the culture that existed before the onset of mashups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media. It is a culture of reaction without action.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Something like missionary reductionism has happened to the internet with the rise of web 2.0. The strangeness is being leached away by the mush-making process. Individual web pages as they first appeared in the early 1990S had the flavor of personhood. MySpace preserved some of that flavor, though a process of regularized formatting had begun. Facebook went further, organizing people into multiple-choice identities, while Wikipedia seeks to erase point of view entirely. If a church or government were doing these things, it would feel authoritarian, but when technologists are the culprits, we seem hip, fresh, and inventive. People will accept ideas presented in technological form that would be abhorrent in any other form. It is utterly strange to hear my many old friends in the world of digital culture claim to be the true sons of the Renaissance without realizing that using computers to reduce individual expression is a primitive, retrograde activity, no matter how sophisticated your tools are.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Wouldn’t it be easier just to treat the information space as a public resource and tax or charge companies somehow for the benefit of using it?
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
The nerd flavor of masculinity has overwhelmed the macho kind in real-life power dynamics, and therefore in popular culture.
Jaron Lanier
You have to be somebody before you can share yourself.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
A digital sound sample in angry rap doesn't correspond to the graffiti but the wall.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The attribution of intelligence to machines, crowds of fragments, or other nerd deities obscures more than it illuminates. When people are told that a computer is intelligent, they become prone to changing themselves in order to make the computer appear to work better, instead of demanding that the computer be changed to become more useful.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
What these critics forget is that printing presses in themselves provide no guarantee of an enlightened outcome. People, not machines, made the Renaissance. The printing that takes place in North Korea today, for instance, is nothing more than propaganda for a personality cult. What is important about printing presses is not the mechanism, but the authors.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
It is exactly when others insist that it’s a sign of being free, fresh, and radical to do what everybody’s doing that you might want to take notice and think for yourself. Don’t be surprised if this is really hard to do.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
Memes might seem to amplify what you are saying, but that is always an illusion. You might launch an infectious meme about a political figure, and you might be making a great point, but in the larger picture, you are reinforcing the idea that virality is truth. Your point will be undone by whatever other point is more viral. That is by design. The architects of BUMMER were meme believers.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
One of the main reasons to delete your social media accounts is that there isn’t a real choice to move to different social media accounts. Quitting entirely is the only option for change. If you don’t quit, you are not creating the space in which Silicon Valley can act to improve itself.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The only hope for social networking sites from a business point of view is for a magic formula to appear in which some method of violating privacy and dignity becomes acceptable.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
La experiencia es el único proceso que puede desalienar la información.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Your character is the most precious thing about you. Don’t let it degrade.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
At the end of the road of the pursuit of technological sophistication appears to lie a playhouse in which humankind regresses to nursery school.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not A Gadget)
Google gets $59 billion, and you get free search and e-mail. A study published by the Wall Street Journal in advance of Facebook’s initial public offering estimated the value of each long-term Facebook user to be $80.95 to the company. Your friendships were worth sixty-two cents each and your profile page $1,800. A business Web page and its associated ad revenue were worth approximately $3.1 million to the social network. Viewed another way, Facebook’s billion-plus users, each dutifully typing in status updates, detailing his biography, and uploading photograph after photograph, have become the largest unpaid workforce in history. As a result of their free labor, Facebook has a market cap of $182 billion, and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has a personal net worth of $33 billion. What did you get out of the deal? As the computer scientist Jaron Lanier reminds us, a company such as Instagram—which Facebook bought in 2012—was not valued at $1 billion because its thirteen employees were so “extraordinary. Instead, its value comes from the millions of users who contribute to the network without being paid for it.” Its inventory is personal data—yours and mine—which it sells over and over again to parties unknown around the world. In short, you’re a cheap date.
Marc Goodman (Future Crimes)
Here’s a current example of the challenge we face. At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only thirteen people. Where did all those jobs disappear to? And what happened to the wealth that those middle-class jobs created? This book is built to answer questions like these, which will only become more common as digital networking hollows out every industry, from media to medicine to manufacturing.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
BUMMER is a machine with six moving parts. Here’s a mnemonic for the six components of the BUMMER machine, in case you ever have to remember them for a test: A is for Attention Acquisition leading to Asshole supremacy B is for Butting into everyone’s lives C is for Cramming content down people’s throats D is for Directing people’s behaviors in the sneakiest way possible E is for Earning money from letting the worst assholes secretly screw with everyone else F is for Fake mobs and Faker society
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Some of the fantasy objects arising from cybernetic totalism (like the noosphere, which is a supposed global brain formed by the sum of all the human brains connected through the internet) happen to motivate infelicitous technological designs. For instance, designs that celebrate the noosphere tend to energize the inner troll, or bad actor, within humans.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The intentions of the cybernetic totalist tribe are good. They are simply following a path that was blazed in earlier times by well-meaning Freudians and Marxists - and I don't mean that in a pejorative way. I'm thinking of the earliest incarnations of Marxism, for instance, before Stalinism and Maoism killed millions. Movements associated with Freud and Marx both claimed foundations in rationality and the scientific understanding of the world. Both perceived themselves to be at war with the weird, manipulative fantasies of religions. And yet both invented their own fantasies that were just as weird. The same thing is happening again. A self-proclaimed materialist movement that attempts to base itself on science starts to look like a religion rather quickly. It soon presents its own eschatology and its own revelations about what is really going on - portentous events that no one but the initiated can appreciate. The Singularity and the noosphere, the idea that a collective consciousness emerges from all the users on the web, echo Marxist social determinism and Freud's calculus of perversions. We rush ahead of skeptical, scientific inquiry at our peril, just like the Marxists and Freudians.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
With nothing else to seek but attention, ordinary people tend to become assholes, because the biggest assholes get the most attention. This inherent bias toward assholedom flavors the action of all the other parts of the BUMMER machine.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
It might sound like a contradiction at first, but it isn't; collective processes make the best sense when participants are acting as individuals (p48)
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Most users of social media have experienced catfishing (which cats hate), senseless rejection, being belittled or ignored, outright sadism, or all of the above, and worse.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Speaking through social media isn’t really speaking at all. Context is applied to what you say after you say it, for someone else’s purposes and profit.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
To free yourself, to be more authentic, to be less addicted, to be less manipulated, to be less paranoid … for all these marvelous reasons, delete your accounts.
Lanier, Jaron
Turing presented his new offering in the form of a thought experiment, based on a popular Victorian parlor game. A man and a woman hide, and a judge is asked to determine which is which by relying only on the texts of notes passed back and forth. Turing replaced the woman with a computer. Can the judge tell which is the man? If not, is the computer conscious? Intelligent? Does it deserve equal rights? It's impossible for us to know what role the torture Turing was enduring at the time played in his formulation of the test. But it is undeniable that one of the key figures in the defeat of fascism was destroyed, by our side, after the war, because he was gay. No wonder his imagination pondered the rights of strange creatures.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
This digital revolutionary still believes in most of the lovely deep ideals that energized our work so many years ago. At the core was a sweet faith in human nature. If we empowered individuals, we believed, more good than harm would result. The way the internet has gone sour since then is truly perverse. The central faith of the web's early design has been superseded by a different faith in the centrality of imaginary entities epitomized by the idea that the internet as a whole is coming alive and turning into a superhuman creature. The designs guided by this new, perverse kind of faith put people back in the shadows. The fad for anonymity has undone the great opening-of-everyone's-windows of the 1990s. While that reversal has empowered sadists to a degree, the worst effect is a degradation of ordinary people.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
My choice is to be engaged even if that means I am tainted. I live with contradictions, in accordance with the human condition, but do my best not to forget what absurdities are involved.
Jaron Lanier
Trump supporters seem nuts to me, and they say liberals seem nuts to them. But it’s wrong to say we’ve grown apart and can’t understand each other. What’s really going on is that we see less than ever before of what others are seeing, so we have less opportunity to understand each other.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Information wants to be free.' So goes the saying. Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, seems to have said it first. I say that information doesn't deserve to be free. Cybernetic totalists love to think of the stuff as if it were alive and had its own ideas and ambitions. But what if information is inanimate? What if it's even less than inanimate, a mere artifact of human thought? What if only humans are real, and information is not? ... Information is alienated experience.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
An imaginary circle of empathy is drawn by each person. It circumscribes the person at some distance, and corresponds to those things in the world that deserve empathy. I like the term "empathy" because it has spiritual overtones. A term like "sympathy" or "allegiance" might be more precise, but I want the chosen term to be slightly mystical, to suggest that we might not be able to fully understand what goes on between us and others, that we should leave open the possibility that the relationship can't be represented in a digital database. If someone falls within your circle of empathy, you wouldn't want to see him or her killed. Something that is clearly outside the circle is fair game. For instance, most people would place all other people within the circle, but most of us are willing to see bacteria killed when we brush our teeth, and certainly don't worry when we see an inanimate rock tossed aside to keep a trail clear. The tricky part is that some entities reside close to the edge of the circle. The deepest controversies often involve whether something or someone should lie just inside or just outside the circle. For instance, the idea of slavery depends on the placement of the slave outside the circle, to make some people nonhuman. Widening the circle to include all people and end slavery has been one of the epic strands of the human story - and it isn't quite over yet. A great many other controversies fit well in the model. The fight over abortion asks whether a fetus or embryo should be in the circle or not, and the animal rights debate asks the same about animals. When you change the contents of your circle, you change your conception of yourself. The center of the circle shifts as its perimeter is changed. The liberal impulse is to expand the circle, while conservatives tend to want to restrain or even contract the circle. Empathy Inflation and Metaphysical Ambiguity Are there any legitimate reasons not to expand the circle as much as possible? There are. To expand the circle indefinitely can lead to oppression, because the rights of potential entities (as perceived by only some people) can conflict with the rights of indisputably real people. An obvious example of this is found in the abortion debate. If outlawing abortions did not involve commandeering control of the bodies of other people (pregnant women, in this case), then there wouldn't be much controversy. We would find an easy accommodation. Empathy inflation can also lead to the lesser, but still substantial, evils of incompetence, trivialization, dishonesty, and narcissism. You cannot live, for example, without killing bacteria. Wouldn't you be projecting your own fantasies on single-cell organisms that would be indifferent to them at best? Doesn't it really become about you instead of the cause at that point?
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The most effective young Facebook users, however — the ones who will probably be winners if Facebook turns out to be a model of the future they will inhabit as adults — are the ones who create successful online fictions about themselves. They tend their doppelgängers fastidiously. They must manage offhand remarks and track candid snapshots at parties as carefully as a politician. Insincerity is rewarded, while sincerity creates a lifelong taint. Certainly, some version of this principle existed in the lives of teenagers before the web came along, but not with such unyielding, clinical precision.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
With an eBook, however, you are not a first-class commercial citizen. Instead, you have only purchased tenuous rights within someone else’s company store. You cannot resell, nor can you do anything else to treat your purchase as an investment.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
I felt the world needed a tool for the spontaneous invention of new virtual worlds that would express the stuff of the mind that was otherwise impenetrable. If you could conjure just the right virtual world, it would open up souls and math and love.
Jaron Lanier (Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality)
We have given up our connection to context. Social media mashes up meaning. Whatever you say will be contextualized and given meaning by the way algorithms, crowds, and crowds of fake people who are actually algorithms mash it up with what other people say.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
There are at least two ways to believe in the idea of quality. You can believe there's something ineffable going on within the human mind, or you can believe we just don't understand what quality in a mind is yet, even though we might someday. Either of those opinions allows one to distinguish quantity and quality. In order to confuse quantity and quality, you have to reject both possibilities. The mere possibility of there being something ineffable about personhood is what drives many technologists to reject the notion of quality. They want to live in an airtight reality that resembles an idealized computer program, in which everything is understood and there are no fundamental mysteries. They recoil from even the hint of a potential zone of mystery or an unresolved seam in one's worldview. This desire for absolute order usually leads to tears in human affairs, so there is a historical reason to distrust it. Materialist extremists have long seemed determined to win a race with religious fanatics: Who can do the most damage to the most people?
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The better analogy is paint that contains lead. When it became undeniable that lead was harmful, no one declared that houses should never be painted again. Instead after pressure and legislation, lead-free paints became the new standard. Smart people simply waited to buy paint until there was a safe version on sale. Similarly, smart people should delete their accounts until nontoxic varieties are available.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Zombies are familiar characters in philosophical thought experiments. They are like people in every way except they have no internal experience.... If there are enough zombies recruited into our world, I worry about the potential for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe if people pretend they are not conscious or do not have free will - or that the cloud of online people is a person; if they pretend there is nothing special about the perspective of the individual - then perhaps we have the power to make it so. We might be able to collectively achieve antimagic. Humans are free. We can commmit suicide for the benefit of a Singularity. We can engineer our genes to better support an imaginary hive mind. We can make culture and journalism into second-rate activities and spend centuries remixing the detritus of the 1960s and other eras from before individual creativity went out of fashion. Or we can believe in ourselves. By chance, it might turn out we are real.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
As a Twitter addict, Trump has changed. He displays the snowflake pattern and sometimes loses control. He is not acting like the most powerful person in the world, because his addiction is more powerful. Whatever else he might be, whatever kind of victimizer, he is also a victim.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Usually Google has had a way of coming up with the creepier statements, but Facebook has pulled ahead: A recent revision in its statement of purpose includes directives like assuring that “every single person has a sense of purpose and community.”5 A single company is going to see to it that every single person has a purpose, because it presumes that was lacking before. If that is not a new religion, I don’t know what is.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
My thoughts are more in line with those of Jaron Lanier, who points out that while hardware might be getting faster all the time, software is shit (I am paraphrasing his argument). And without software to do something useful with all that hardware, the hardware’s nothing more than a really complicated space heater.
Neal Stephenson (Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing)
Los bits se presentan como si estuvieran vivos, mientras que los humanos son fragmentos pasajeros. Todos los comentarios anónimos que aparecen en blosgs y vídeos deben haber sido obra de personas reales, pero ¿quién sabe dónde están ahora, o si están muertos?La colmena digital está creciendo a expensas de la individualidad.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
When we ask people to live their lives through our models, we are potentially reducing life itself. How can we ever know what we might be losing?
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Siren Servers are narcissists; blind to where value comes from, including the web of global interdependence that is at the core of their own value.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Here is yet another statement of the core idea of this book, that data concerning people is best thought of as people in disguise, and they’re usually up to something.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
In order to make tech into something that empowers people, people have to be willing to act as if we can handle being powerful.
Jaron Lanier
Empathy2 is the fuel that runs a decent society. Without it, only dry rules and competitions for power are left.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The inability to carve out a space in which to invent oneself without constant judgment; that is what makes me unhappy.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The damage to society comes because addiction makes people crazy. The addict gradually loses touch with the real world and real people.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Every time you believe in AI, you are reducing your belief in human agency and value. You are undoing yourself and everyone else.
Jaron Lanier (Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality)
Cyber” comes from the Greek and is related to navigation. When you sail, you must constantly adjust to changes in wind and surf.
Jaron Lanier (Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality)
This book will argue that the companies on their own can’t do enough to glue the world back together.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
If you aren’t part of the solution, there will be no solution.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Social media is biased, not to the Left or the Right, but downward.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
I don't think I'm better than you because I don't have social media accounts. Maybe I'm worse; maybe you can handle the stuff better than I can.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
If we want something different to happen, then the way money is earned has to change.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
enduring at the time played in his formulation of the test.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not A Gadget)
It will not suffer if it doesn’t get what it wants.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not A Gadget)
about: Don’t post anonymously unless you really might be in danger.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not A Gadget)
The imbalanced power relationship is in your face all the time. Don’t you feel humiliated using one of the Facebook brands, like Instagram or WhatsApp? Facebook is the first public company controlled by one person.32 I mean, I don’t personally have anything against Mark Zuckerberg. It isn’t about him. But why would you subordinate a big part of your life to any one stranger?
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The approach to digital culture I abhor would indeed turn all the world's books into one book, just as Kevin (Kelly) suggested. It might start to happen in the next decade or so. Google and other companies are scanning library books into the cloud in a massive Manhattan Project of cultural digitization. What happens next is what's important. If the books in the cloud are accessed via user interfaces that encourage mashups of fragments that obscure the context and authorship of each fragment, there will be only one book. This is what happens today with a lot of content; often you don't know where a quoted fragment from a news story came from, who wrote a comment, or who shot a video. A continuation of the present trend will make us like various medieval religious empires, or like North Korea, a society with a single book. The Bible can serve as a prototypical example. Like Wikipedia, the Bible's authorship was shared, largely anonymous, and cumulative, and the obscurity of the individual authors served to create an oracle-like ambience for the document as "the literal word of God." If we take a non-metaphysical view of the Bible, it serves as a link to our ancestors, a window. The ethereal, digital replacement technology for the printing press happens to have come of age in a time when the unfortunate ideology I'm criticizing dominates technological culture. Authorship - the very idea of the individual point of view - is not a priority of the new ideology. The digital flattening of expression into a global mush is not presently enforced from the top down, as it is in the case of a North Korean printing press. Instead, the design of software builds the ideology into those actions that are the easiest to perform on the software designs that are becoming ubiquitous. It is true that by using these tools, individuals can author books or blogs or whatever, but people are encouraged by the economics of free content, crowd dynamics, and lord aggregators to serve up fragments instead of considered whole expressions or arguments. The efforts of authors are appreciated in a manner that erases the boundaries between them. The one collective book will absolutely not be the same thing as the library of books by individuals it is bankrupting. Some believe it will be better; others, including me, believe it will be disastrously worse. As the famous line goes from Inherit the Wind: 'The Bible is a book... but it is not the only book' Any singular, exclusive book, even the collective one accumulating in the cloud, will become a cruel book if it is the only one available.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Social media is biased, not to the Left or the Right, but downward. The relative ease of using negative emotions for the purposes of addiction and manipulation makes it relatively easier to achieve undignified results. An unfortunate combination of biology and math favors degradation of the human world. Information warfare units sway elections, hate groups recruit, and nihilists get amazing bang for the buck when they try to bring society down. The unplanned nature of the transformation from advertising to direct behavior modification caused an explosive amplification of negativity in human affairs.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
The foundational idea of humanistic computing is that provenance is valuable. Information is people in disguise, and people ought to be paid for value they contribute that can be sent or stored on a digital network.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
As the familiar quote usually attributed to Supreme Court justice Louis D. Brandeis goes, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
Every power-seeking entity in the world, whether it’s a government, a business, or an informal group, has gotten wise to the idea that if you can assemble information about other people, that information makes you powerful.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
This situation is completely without precedent, and it is now evolving so quickly that we can barely keep track of where we are. And the more technology evolves, the more that new layers of hardware and software are added, the harder it is to change. This is handing tech capitalists a unique source of power. As the Silicon Valley guru Jaron Lanier puts it, they don’t have to persuade us when they can directly manipulate our experience of the world.
Richard Seymour (The Twittering Machine)
Nuestra incapacidad para preservar un espacio en el cual inventarnos a nosotros mismos ajenos a la evaluación constante, eso es lo que me hace infeliz. ¿Cómo podemos tener autoestima cuando ha dejado de ser el tipo de estima que más importa?
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
A fashionable idea in technical circles is that quantity not only turns into quality at some extreme of scale, but also does so according to principles we already understand. Some of my colleagues think a million, or perhaps a billion, fragmentary insults will eventually yield wisdom that surpasses that of any well-thought-out essay, so long as sophisticated secret statistical algorithms recombine the fragments. I disagree. A trope from the early days of computer science comes to mind: garbage in, garbage out.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Nothing about computers is inevitable. But we’ve put such a massive number of bits into place that it’s often too much work to remember how each brick of the edifice we live in is nothing but a peculiar obsession someone else put into place, once upon a time.
Jaron Lanier (Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality)
We must learn to see the full picture, and not just the treats before our eyes. Our trendy gadgets, such as smartphones and tablets, have given us new access to the world. We regularly communicate with people we would never even have been aware of before the networked age. We can find information about almost anything at any time. But we have learned how much our gadgets and out idealistically motivated digital networks are being used to spy on us by ultrapowerful, remote organizations. We are being dissected more than we dissect.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
La tecnología etérea y digital que reemplazó a la imprenta ha alcanzado la mayoria de edad en un momento en que esta ideología lamentable que critico domina la cultura tecnológica. La autoría- la mismísima idea del punto de vista individual- no es una de las prioridades de la nueva ideología.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
Cats are everywhere online. They make the memiest memes and the cutest videos. Why cats more than dogs?1 Dogs didn’t come to ancient humans begging to live with us; we domesticated them.2 They’ve been bred to be obedient. They take to training and they are predictable. They work for us. That’s not to say anything against dogs.3 It’s great that they’re loyal and dependable. Cats are different. They came along and partly domesticated themselves. They are not predictable. Popular dog videos tend to show off training, while the most wildly popular cat videos are the ones that capture weird and surprising behaviors.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
AI is a fantasy, nothing but a story we tell about our code. It is also a cover for sloppy engineering. Making a supposed AI program that customizes a feed is less work than creating a great user interface that allows users to probe and improve what they see on their own terms—and that is so because AI has no objective criteria for success.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Every power-seeking entity in the world, whether it is a government, a business, or an informal group, has gotten wise to the idea that if you can assemble information about other people, that information makes you powerful. By glorifying the tools that enable this trend as our channels of complaint, we are only amplifying our own predicament.
Jaron Lanier
¿Ese buscador sabe realmente lo que queremos, o estamos siguiendo el juego, bajando nuestro nivel de exigencia para que el buscador parezca inteligente? Mientras se espera que el contacto con nuevas tecnologías avanzadas cambie la perspectiva humana, el ejercicio de tratar la inteligencia de las máquinas como si fuera real requiere que las personas reduzcan su conexión con la realidad
Jaron Lanier
When you are a solitary wolf, you are forced to get directly in touch with the larger reality that doesn’t care about what a society thinks. You must find water and shelter, or you will perish. You have to scavenge and hunt for yourself. Your personality shifts; you must solve problems on the basis of evidence you gather on your own, instead of by paying attention to group perception. You take on the qualities of a scientist or an artist.
Jaron Lanier (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now)
Distributions can only be based on measurements, but as in the case of measuring intelligence, the nature of measurement is often complicated and troubled by ambiguities. Consider the problem of noise, or what is known as luck in human affairs. Since the rise of the new digital economy, around the turn of the century, there has been a distinct heightening of obsessions with contests like American Idol, or other rituals in which an anointed individual will suddenly become rich and famous. When it comes to winner-take-all contests, onlookers are inevitably fascinated by the role of luck. Yes, the winner of a singing contest is good enough to be the winner, but even the slightest flickering of fate might have changed circumstances to make someone else the winner. Maybe a different shade of makeup would have turned the tables. And yet the rewards of winning and losing are vastly different. While some critics might have aesthetic or ethical objections to winner-take-all outcomes, a mathematical problem with them is that noise is amplified. Therefore, if a societal system depends too much on winner-take-all contests, then the acuity of that system will suffer. It will become less reality-based.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)
A file on a hard disk does indeed contain information of the kind that objectively exists. The fact that the bits are discernible instead of being scrambled into mush - the way heat scrambles things - is what makes them bits. But if the bits can potentially mean something to someone, they can only do so if they are experienced. When that happens, a commonality of culture is enacted between the storer and the retriever of the bits. Experience is the only process that can de-alienate information. Information of the kind that purportedly wants to be free is nothing but a shadow of our own minds, and wants nothing on its own. It will not suffer if it doesn't get what it wants. But if you want to make the transition from the old religion, where you hope God will give you an afterlife, to the new religion, where you hope to become immortal by getting uploaded into a computer, then you have to believe information is real and alive. So for you, it will be important to redesign human institutions like art, the economy, and the law to reinforce the perception that information is alive. You demand that the rest of us live in your new conception of a state religion. You need us to deify information to reinforce your faith.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
An endless series of gambits backed by gigantic investments encouraged young people entering the online world for the first time to create standardized presences on sites like Facebook. Commercial interests promoted the widespread adoption of standardized designs like the blog, and these designs encouraged pseudonymity in at least some aspects of their designs, such as comments, instead of the proud extroversion that characterized the first wave of web culture. Instead of people being treated as the sources of their own creativity, commercial aggregation and abstraction sites presented anonymized fragments of creativity as products that might have fallen from the sky or been dug up from the ground, obscuring the true sources.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
The reason [James Clerk] Maxwell's Demon cannot exist is that it does take resources to perform an act of discrimination. We imagine computation is free, but it never is. The very act of choosing which particle is cold or hot itself becomes an energy drain and a source of waste heat. The principle is also known as "no free lunch." We do our best to implement Maxwell's Demon whenever we manipulate reality with our technologies, but we can never do so perfectly; we certainly can't get ahead of the game, which is known as entropy. All the air conditioners in a city emit heat that makes the city hotter overall. While you can implement what seems to be a Maxwell's Demon if you don't look too far or too closely, in the big picture you always lose more than you gain. Every bit in a computer is a wannabe Maxwell's Demon, separating the state of "one" from the state of "zero" for a while, at a cost. A computer on a network can also act like a wannabe demon if it tries to sort data from networked people into one or the other side of some imaginary door, while pretending there is no cost or risk involved.
Jaron Lanier (Who Owns the Future?)