You are not a gadget

You are not a gadget: a manifesto  by Jaron Lanier (Vintage Books, 2011)

This extended essay on the philosophy of computer science is a manifesto in favor of the value of individual humans. Probably everyone who reads this book will agree with some of what he says, and disagree with a lot more (but it will be different parts for each one of us).  Lanier has the perspective of a successful computer scientist and entrepreneur,  but a less successful musician; both of those facts inform his views of computers and their place in the world.  It means that he is in favor of musicians being paid for their work when it is accessed online, and not overly concerned about big companies overcharging for access to content.  He does not buy into “crowdsourcing” as a process for creating content, because it devalues the individual.  Lanier gives us plenty of startling ideas to think about, such as why many Silicon Valley folks effectively see computers as their deity.

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