gadget

In the first part of the novel You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, Lanier targeted on what he calls ‘cybernetic totalism‘, which is the theory of the things like the Singularity, when people upload themselves to the internet. He also presented his concern that the web 2.0 and social networking may be a cause of people eventually losing their creativity and being insignificant and ordinary.

Throughout the second part of the book, Lanier discusses certain theories and events that have occurred in the past that either affects us today, could’ve affected us, or possibly could affect us. An example of each is at the beginning of the fourth chapter when he discusses how most anyone could be turned into a Marxist under specific circumstances which are desires of people to fix inequities of technological change usually for selfish purposes. Another interesting discussion/claim he brings up is on page 80 discussing how slaves or workers have powered and held up civilisations in the past and technology has replaced their work and is acting as a slave for humanity. Further into the book, Lanier discusses how since so few artists, musicians, writers etc. end up unsuccessful because of popularity gained on the internet and luck. This may eventually lead to hardly anyone practicing these arts out of the fear of being unsuccessful and a lot of potential talent would be wasted.

So far, I think this book discusses a lot of interesting points and theories and potential happenings in our future. I think Jaron Lanier is trying to get us to realise by writing this book that we must be stronger than technology and remember that we control it and that it should be a tool we use to benefit us rather than letting it control the world. The major social/ethical concerns presented in this book are mainly intellectual property, globalisation and cultural diversity, people and machines and digital citizenship.

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