You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto
Something went wrong around the start of the twenty-first century. The crowd was wise. Social networks replaced individual creativity. There were more places to express ourselves than ever before ...yet no one really had anything to say. Does this have to be our future?
In You Are Not A Gadget digital guru and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier reveals how recent developments in our culture are deadening personal interaction, stifling genuine inventiveness and even changing us as people. Showing us the way to a future where individuals mean more than machines, this is a searing manifesto against mass mediocrity, a creative call to arms - and an impassioned defence of the human.
Fabulous - I couldn't put it down and shouted out Yes! Yes! on many pages ... This is a landmark book that will have people talking and arguing for years into the future. - Lee Smolin
Lucid, powerful and persuasive ... Necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
There is hardly a page that does not contain some fascinating provocation - Guardian
Mind-bending, exuberant, brilliant - Washington Post
A pioneer in the development of virtual reality and a Silicon Valley veteran, Mr. Lanier is a digital-world insider concerned with the effect that online collectivism and the current enshrinement of "the wisdom of the crowd" is having on artists, intellectual property rights and the larger social and cultural landscape. In taking on such issues, he's written an illuminating book that is as provocative as it is impassioned. - Michiko Kakutani's Top 10 Books Of The Year 2010 New York Times
In the world of technologists, Jaron Lanier is that rare combination: a pioneer and a skeptic. A legendary computer scientist, he did crucial early work in the field of virtual reality (the phrase is his). But he now recoils at the way Web 2.0 and social media sell us short as human beings, both in our relationships and in our sense of who we are. In purposeful, reasoned steps, always informed by a profound understanding of how software really works, he lays out his vision of where it all went wrong and champions the power of the human brain in an age of ever smarter machines. - Lev Grossman Time Magazine Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010