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Publisher's Summary

The dazzling new masterwork from the prophet of Silicon Valley
Jaron Lanier is the best-selling author of You Are Not a Gadget, the father of virtual reality, and one of the most influential thinkers of our time. For decades, Lanier has drawn on his expertise and experience as a computer scientist, musician, and digital media pioneer to predict the revolutionary ways in which technology is transforming our culture.
Who Owns the Future? is a visionary reckoning with the effects network technologies have had on our economy. Lanier asserts that the rise of digital networks led our economy into recession and decimated the middle class. Now, as technology flattens more and more industries - from media to medicine to manufacturing - we are facing even greater challenges to employment and personal wealth.
But there is an alternative to allowing technology to own our future. In this ambitious and deeply humane book, Lanier charts the path toward a new information economy that will stabilize the middle class and allow it to grow. It is time for ordinary people to be rewarded for what they do and share on the web.
Insightful, original, and provocative, Who Owns the Future? is necessary listening for all who live a part of their lives online.
©2013 Jaron Lanier. All rights reserved (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Daringly original... Lanier's sharp, accessible style and opinions make Who Owns the Future? terrifically inviting." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
"Lanier has a mind as boundless as the internet.... [He is] the David Foster Wallace of tech." ( London Evening Standard)
"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. His vision implies that if we are allowed to lead absorbing, properly remunerated lives, we will likewise outgrow our addiction to consumerism and technology." ( The Guardian)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By CHET YARBROUGH on 08-04-15


Society is at the threshold of change. Jaron Lanier writes about the information age in “Who Owns the Future”. Just as the industrial revolution and two world wars mechanize human production, the computer and internet “informationize” mechanical production. Lanier bluntly explains human employment will decline in proportion to computerization of production.

Lanier is neither posturing as a Luddite nor abandoning the principles of democratic’ capitalism. He suggests human beings need to understand their changing role in society. Lanier infers a failure to understand human’ role-change will compel disastrous reactions; i.e. reactions like the Luddites of the Industrial Revolution or socialist, fascist, and communist sympathizers of the post-industrial world.

Lanier begins to explain the concept of information monetization. Information monetization is something that exists today but is mistakenly understood as something that is free. Examples are Facebook, Google Search,, Microsoft Windows 10, Apple ITunes, governments, and other organizations that Lanier calls Siren Servers. Nothing is free. The price humans pay is information about themselves, their needs, desires, habits, interests, etc. Every phone call, every web search, every email, every purchase made tells Siren Servers what product they can sell, what price they can sell it at, and how much money, power, and prestige they can accumulate.

Lanier suggests that the concept of Siren Servers should be expanded to include defined populations, common-interest groups, and individuals. Lanier argues that information, humans now give for free, should be monetized. Every person that produces information that increases another’s money, power, or prestige should be compensated.

“Who Owns the Future” is an insightful view of the modern world. Unlike those who revile modernity and pine for a return to an idealized past, Lanier offers an alternative. Lanier strikes one as a Socratic seer of modernity.

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4 out of 5 stars
By vivian candy tanamachi on 03-08-15

good combinatiion of stories and facts

I appreciate his blended experiences and perspectives as both an artist and a technologist of conscious integraty. Short segments made up the chapters which reminds me of normalized learning nuggets. My second time through I know will reveal even more low hanging mass imicro information monitary creation deliberately aggregated into diverse sustainable strategies for greater involement in arts and teknowledgy life styles, ithat ncludeds me..

On another note he mentioned the linux community, several times, as being the other extreem that is not seconomically sustainable, either so it begs the question of what operating systems does he use and what other system exit or needs to be established to facilitate communications and transactions between us?

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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