The Wise Jaron Lanier
I have seen Jaron Lanier derided and this does not surprise me. The voices speaking out against what has been going on, on the Internet, are few and far between – those that criticize that is – those voices who can see the societal problems which have been aggravated there, voices which are intentionally being drowned out by the corporate-backed chorus.
He is very wise though.
This excerpt from a Smithsonian interview, What turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web, is dead-on:
“This is the thing that continues to scare me. You see in history the capacity of people to congeal—like social lasers of cruelty. That capacity is constant.”
“Social lasers of cruelty?” I repeat.
“I just made that up,” Lanier says. “Where everybody coheres into this cruelty beam….Look what we’re setting up here in the world today. We have economic fear combined with everybody joined together on these instant twitchy social networks which are designed to create mass action. What does it sound like to you? It sounds to me like the prequel to potential social catastrophe. I’d rather take the risk of being wrong than not be talking about that.”
It’s a haunting image of speechlessness. A pogrom is carried out by a “crowd,” the true horrific embodiment of the purported “wisdom of the crowd.” You could say it made Lanier even more determined not to remain mute. To speak out against the digital barbarism he regrets he helped create.
The so-much devious effort to cover-up Topix says to me, that there are Interest$$$ out there, who purposely want to foster this digital barbarism, I have proved as much, in my Open Salon posts including: The Dark Ages of the New Digital Age.
But the potential of the People and of Social Media – which Lanier does not like and here I disagree with him – is something very powerful and there is and has been, so much potential there for Change and freedom from the corruption which seeks to control it.
Its an Internet of People, not Things. This is a fact and its the People who love and use it, who will ultimately, determine its Future, and I believe this, and it will be a good future.
What Turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web?