Friday, April 22, 2011

You Are Not A Gadget (but maybe I want to be)

Last week I finished reading "You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto" by Jaron Lanier.

Lanier is worried about the way the Internet is progressing. He has had an interesting career that includes music and virtual reality.

His main concern is that the new web technology is dehumanising people. He is very worried about robots taking over manufacturing. This sounded like AI hype to me, until in my German class on Friday, we discussed the creation of cars that was done mostly by robots.

He doesn't like Linux, partly because it is old fashioned technology, because it is based on UNIX. I felt sympathetic with his view, if the old UNIX heads had their way, there would be no windows/GUI based machines, that makes the use of computers possible for my mum. He is very anti-open source in general, and he makes the claim that no new computing paradigm has come from open source. Only business's have new things such as Iphones. No mention is made of Microsoft's monopoly on windows stopping innovation. Also the success of the Iphone is only partly due to technology, but mostly due to marketing (I don't mean this comment in a bad way).

At the end of the book he presented some ideas for radical new VR based technogy for computing. Call me a luddite, but these seemed a bit impracticable to me. Computers are a tool for me, so if they don't work that is bad.