You Are Not a Gadget

A Manifesto

By Jaron Lanier
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780307389978, 223pp.)

Publication Date: February 8, 2011

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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 the author of "You Are Not a Gadget", and "Who Owns the Future?" He has appeared in several documentaries on virtual reality, including "Synthetic Pleasures" and "Rage Against the Machines", and has won several awards for his writing and research on virtual reality, including the Goldsmith Book Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. He holds honorary degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
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