Who Owns the Future?

Jaron Lanier

Who Owns the Future?

In the past, a revolution in production, such as the industrial revolution, generally increased the wealth and freedom of people. The digital revolution we are living through is different. Instead of leaving a greater number of us in excellent financial health, the effect of digital technologies - and the companies behind them - is to concentrate wealth, reduce growth, and challenge the livelihoods of an ever-increasing number of people. As the protections of the middle class disappear, washed away by crises in capitalism, what is being left in their place? And what else could replace them? Why is this happening, and what might we do about it? In Who Owns the Future? Jaron Lanier shows how the new power paradigm operates, how it is conceived and controlled, and why it is leading to a collapse in living standards. 3.2 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Who Owns the Future?

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-1846145223
Publisher Allen Lane
 

In the past, a revolution in production, such as the industrial revolution, generally increased the wealth and freedom of people. The digital revolution we are living through is different. Instead of leaving a greater number of us in excellent financial health, the effect of digital technologies - and the companies behind them - is to concentrate wealth, reduce growth, and challenge the livelihoods of an ever-increasing number of people. As the protections of the middle class disappear, washed away by crises in capitalism, what is being left in their place? And what else could replace them? Why is this happening, and what might we do about it? In Who Owns the Future? Jaron Lanier shows how the new power paradigm operates, how it is conceived and controlled, and why it is leading to a collapse in living standards.

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Talitha Stevenson

This book may only be sporadically intelligible to most readers ... but Lanier is always good company ... Lanier’s desire “to see if network technology can make capitalism better instead of worse” is engaging and well grounded in research. His vision of “an information economy” in which Siren Servers make “nanopayments” for human contributions is well worth struggling to understand.

07/03/2013

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The Guardian

Laurence Scott

So should we be excited or frightened by Lanier's vision? An economy of individuals who manufacture commercial products merely by existing has nightmarish implications, and, given his belief that commercialism should be celebrated for having driven the progress of modernity, Lanier isn't the best person to dispel them ... And yet one of the triumphs of Lanier's intelligent and subtle book is its inspiring portrait of the kind of people that a democratic information economy would produce.

02/03/2013

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The Daily Telegraph

Matt Warman

Lanier makes a persuasive case, and it’s hard to dispute his suggestions for the future until we get there.

03/03/2013

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The Observer

John Kampfner

The book is written as a series of snippets, more like TED-style mini-lectures, rather than developing the ideas into a longer train of thought. At times the language is impenetrable. Still, the book raises important questions and Lanier is highly qualified to ask them. His danger signs are worth noting.

03/03/2013

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The Financial Times

James Harkin

Lanier has a poet’s sensibility and his book reads like a hallucinogenic reverie, full of entertaining haiku-like observations and digressions … Lanier is suspicious of the power of data-hungry “siren servers” (he now works for Microsoft) but his book works best when it’s disabusing them of their illusions.

01/03/2013

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The Literary Review

David Bodanis

He has a handful of sensible points in his latest collection: that machines will lead to unemployment, and that if people received micro-payments for each use that was made of their intellectual property, matters would be slightly better. But Lanier has spent so long on the hi-tech lecture circuit — convincing programmers that he’s a great musician and musicians that he’s a great programmer — that he seems to have lost much capacity for continuous thought.

01/03/2013

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