Fighting words against Big Data

May 7, 2013


Jaron Lanier’s new tech manifesto, Who owns the future? “delivers “Olympian, contrarian fighting words about the Internet’s exploitative powers” and big Web entities and their business models, The New York Times reports.

The book reiteraties ideas from Lanier’s previous book — Web businesses exploit a peasant class, users of social media may not realize how entrapped they are, a thriving middle class is essential to keeping the Internet sustainable. It also overlaps with The New Digital Age, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s Web analysis.

Their book focuses more on global issues, but disagrees with specific points. “The New Digital Age looks forward to self-driving trucks that can ease the strain on Teamsters; Mr. Lanier rambunctiously writes of “Napstering the Teamsters” out of work, and of how such technology could go terribly wrong. The books also disagree on whether surgeons’ work will be enhanced or diminished by robotics.”

Who Owns the Future? “takes some of it biggest swipes at those who do presume to own the future: fans of the Singularity (the hypothetical imminent merger of biology and technology), Silicon Valley pioneers seeking “methusalization” (i.e., immortality), techie utopians of every stripe.”