Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant .. Lanier then looks to a future dominated by Siren Servers while technological. Jaron Lanier, groundbreaking computer scientist and infectious optimist, is concerned that we are not making the most of ourselves. In Who. An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May Jaron Lanier’s last book, You Are Not a Gadget, was an influential criticism of Web ‘s crowd-sourced.

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Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier – review | Books | The Guardian

Who Owns the Future? 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 futufe it.

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: HardcoverUSpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Who Owns the Future? See 1 question about Who Owns the Future? Lists with This Book. May 05, Hadrian rated it it was ok Shelves: The recent exposure of government surveillance of tech companies and their private consumers is sobering, but I confess it is not wholly unexpected.

After all, the corporations monitor our tastes and actions already for advertising purposes. Who is to say the intelligence services would not have caught on to this rich new vein of information, free for jaroon taking? The purpose of this book is a critique of this new trend of information control, and Lanier, our author, has a reputation of lambasting The recent exposure of oanier surveillance of tech companies and their private consumers is sobering, but I confess it is not wholly unexpected.

The purpose of this book is a critique of this new trend of information ffuture, and Lanier, our author, has a reputation of lambasting the idlers of Silicon Valley. However, this book is of wildly erratic quality. Our author is able to accurately diagnose our current problems but offers little in the way of solutions, or even explaining what he does get right.

Notes the importance of automation in the loss of manufacturing jobs, and the possibility of automation expanding to everything from janitorial services to nursing. The new ‘Information economy’ rewards some tycoons and entrepreneurs disproportionately well, but many others lose.

The role of derivatives and high-speed trading also made and lost many fortunes in the financial industry. Likewise, Lanier expands upon the increasing rule of ‘Siren Servers’ – companies which provide services to the average consumer for free, but earn money packaging personal information to others, or using it to further target their sales and advertising – e.

Google Ads, Facebook, Amazon. No mention of Microsoft, which employs our author. This book has two major flaws: For example, consumers are to be paid every time our ‘identity data’ is used when we use a social network.

Finally, the author is profoundly deficient in explaining his new concepts. There is almost no research or a comprehensive list of citations to support his claims. His style laanier incoherent.


He seems to enjoy coining ugly little neologisms and writing tawdry little parables about robotic seagulls. It is a shame.

Who Owns the Future?

For a futrue which focused at first on such trenchant issues, there is nothing left here but idle baseless speculation. View all 8 comments.

May 29, Rachel Bayles rated it liked it Shelves: I liked this book, and I can’t recommend it, except for aho most dedicated technophile. This book is like being stuck in an elevator with your iaron brilliant friend, and a bottle of wine. Some of the conversation will be interesting, and some of it may seem brilliant, but you won’t be able to remember half of it later. His musings range from jqron to extreme, and much of it I did not feel like I had the brain power to understand its implications.

I would have to read it a second time, just to get I liked this book, and I can’t recommend it, except for the most dedicated technophile. I would have to read it a second time, just to get a real grasp.

Read “You Are Not A Gadget” which is a great book for everyoneoanier don’t dig into this one unless your brain already hums at the intersection of tech, phil, econ, and soc. View all 4 comments. I feel like he has too many inside jokes that I am not privy to. Apr 07, Joao Vieira da Cunha This review sums up the book brilliantly. I know the research around the topics discussed in the book quite well and still found it a bit rambling ak This review sums up jwron book brilliantly.

Sep 05, Emily rated it it was amazing Shelves: Should you read this book? There are wwho reasons why: His prescriptions may be useful. Haron if his prescriptions are unrealistic, the first two-thirds of the book are still a worthwhile way of looking at what’s presently going on in our economy.

Even if he’s totally wrong, he’s entertaining, rather like Antonin Scalia. You could fault the author for being polemical and long-winded, but if you’re reading my reviews, that’s probably not an issue for you. Lanier describes a system centered around what he calls, as shorthand, a Siren Server–a powerful computer system that amasses so much information that it perhaps unintentionally bends the market reality around itself.

Lanidr Siren Server allows its master to pull unprecedented amounts of money or jarron to itself, while radiating risk onto smaller players into the economy in ways that mask the connection between the risk and its own actions. He asserts that a “sirenic” economy endangers capitalism because it allows certain players to grow to unprecedented size while actually diminishing the overall economy.

In the short term it’s primarily affecting a hobbled middle class, but in the long term a shrinking economy is not good for the Siren Servers, either. He gives many examples. One would be health insurers, who can now futurf out a great deal about who is healthy and likely to stay that way, and collect premiums from them, while foisting sick people onto emergency rooms and the government safety net.

Another would be Wal-Mart, which revolutionized supply chains to its own immense profit, while its reliance on Chinese manufacturing has left its communities unable to afford to buy things even at rock-bottom prices.

A less profitable example would be Facebook. The theme linking all of these is: As an alternative, Lanier proposes a new architecture in which micropayments flow to people whose data has made downstream calculations, advertisements, or sales possible. These payments would be tiny, but would restore the middle-class and all of us as true participants in the economy. If Facebook uses your behavior to target an ad, they should make a tiny payment to you.


If Google uses your translation to inform its statistical translation algorithm, they should pay you. Lanier makes odder suggestions, too.

If your mortgage gets sliced up and resold, it’s based partially on your likelihood of repayment so you should be paid–and even with micropayments, the cumulative cost of that might have slowed down the housing bubble.

If a dating site uses your successful match as fodder to understand how to match future pairs, who marry: The idea isn’t just that you’d make a little bit of money, but also that the Siren Servers should not be allowed to use you as the raw materials of their business for free. This sounds a little out there, but Lanier isn’t a hippie despite his hairdo. He’s not in favor of file-sharing and the social webbut not in a pathetically fuddy-duddy MPAA anti-piracy ad kind of way; he quotes Marx, but he is fine with some people making loads of money as long as other aren’t left in the dust.

His politics are hard to pin down because they cut across conventional orthodoxies. The result is odd but compelling. He seems to actually know what he’s talking about, at a high level few can match, and that’s why no one else is saying these things, at least, not yet.

Lanier is a member of the supreme information class and he’s sharing its secrets with the rest of us. Lanier acknowledges the trickiest thing about the upside-down incentives of this new economy, which is that, while his book might make you want to move to an off-the-grid yak farm in Montana, neither you nor anyone else would benefit from such an individual action.

He mentions Pascal’s wager somewhere in the middle, and we could apply the same thought there. Of course it’s possible that his insights about What’s Actually Going On in Our Economy and Society aren’t right, but in case they are, hadn’t you better read this book? And anyway, it’s a good read.

View all 3 comments. May 25, Maciek rated it it was ok Shelves: Imagine yourself reading the latest article from your favorite news source on the screen of your smartphone; you might have enjoyed the article enough to share it with your friends on Facebook. You might have also decided to check your e-mail and converse with your friends via a messaging app; all the while paying nothing for the services you used, except the monthly phone bill – or possibly not even that, if you used a device such as a tablet and free wi-fi.

But are these services – which infor Imagine yourself reading the latest article from your favorite news source on the screen of your smartphone; you might have enjoyed the article enough to share it with your friends on Facebook.

But are these services – which inform, entertain, and connect us – truly free? Someone had to create the digital infrastructure which we use to connect with one another, and create content that we enjoy reading and watching. Yet no money leaves our pockets when we use them all every day. How is that possible? Do people who create content, host and manage social network work unpaid? How can free services be free?