Services like Google and Facebook only exist because of the social acceptance of a mass amount of distributed volunteer labor from tons and tons of people.

— Jaron Lanier

The most contentment Jaron Lanier quotes that are glad to read

A real friendship ought to introduce each person to unexpected weirdness in the other.

45

It is impossible to work in information technology without also engaging in social engineering.

35

Books are really, really hard to write.

They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say

25

An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than in truth and beauty

18

We already knew that kids learned computer technology more easily than adults, It is as if children were waiting all these centuries for someone to invent their native language.

10

Pop culture has entered into a nostalgic malaise.

Online culture is dominated by trivial mashups of the culture that existed before the onset of mashups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media. It is a culture of reaction without action.

7

All over the world today people have a very strong desire to find a sense of identity, and at the same time that's coupled with the rise of absolutely absurd wars that relate to ethnic identity. Perhaps there is something deeply ingrained in people that relates to a sense of belonging, and without that, identity doesn't seem as real as it should.

5

I think complexity is mostly sort of crummy stuff that is there because it's too expensive to change the interface.

5

We're losing track of the vastness of the potential for computer science.

We really have to revive the beautiful intellectual joy of it, as opposed to the business potential.

4

A digital sound sample in angry rap doesn't correspond to the graffiti but the wall.

4

Style used to be an interaction between the human soul and tools that were limiting. In the digital era, it will have to come from the soul alone.

4

Advertisers and marketers should be looking to bring new experiences to different parts of the brain. It's a more profound idea than just dropping a billboard into a video game.

4

About Jaron Lanier

Quotes 97 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Artist
Birthday October 16

Musicians and journalists are the canaries in the coalmine, but, eventually, as computers get more and more powerful, it will kill off all middle-class professions.

3

There were studies that asked people in different cultures to draw pictures of their enemies, and the pictures all looked remarkably the same. They always had exaggerated canine teeth and a certain sort of expression. That led to speculation about whether at an earlier stage in the human experience we were hunted by some sort of carnivore.

3

External reality is sort of an affectation of the nervous system.

3

There is no difference between machine autonomy and the abdication of human responsibility.

2

Why do people deserve a penny when they update their Facebook status? Because they'll spend some of it on you.

2

It's as if you kneel to plant the seed of a tree and it grows so fast that it swallows your whole town before you can even rise to your feet.

2

Linux is a superbly polished copy of an antique - shinier than the original, perhaps, but still defined by it.

2

Individuals achieve optimal stupidity when they're given substantial powers while being insulated from the results of their actions.

1

Spirituality is committing suicide. Consciousness is attempting to will itself out of existence.

0

We should talk about the ultimate cause of war.

It's a question we should never stop asking, because if we do, there's a chance, however remote, that we might miss an opportunity to reduce the occurrence of war.

0

One good test of whether an economy is humanistic or not is the plausibility of earning the ability to drop out of it for a while without incident or insult.

0

Some of the fantasy objects arising from cybernetic totalism (like the noosphere, which is a supposed global brain formed by the sum of all the human brains connected through the internet) happen to motivate infelicitous technological designs. For instance, designs that celebrate the noosphere tend to energize the inner troll, or bad actor, within humans.

0

If you love a medium made of software, there's a danger that you will become entrapped in someone else's recent careless thoughts. Struggle against that.

0

The problem I have with socialist utopias is there's some kind of committees trying to soften outcomes for people. I think that imposes models of outcomes for other people's lives. So in a spiritual sense there's some bit of libertarian in me. But the critical thing for me is moderation. And if you let that go far you do end up with a winner-take-all society that ultimately crushes everybody even worse.

0

Humans change themselves through technology.

0

I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.

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Once you can understand something in a way that you can shove it into a computer, you have cracked its code, transcended any particularity it might have at a given time. It was as if we had become the gods of vision and had effectively created all possible images, for they would merely be reshufflings of the bits in the computers we had before us, completely under our command.

0

Web 2.0 ideas have a chirpy, cheerful rhetoric to them, but I think they consistently express a profound pessimism about humans, human nature and the human future.

0

One thing that I have been trying to do is bring together in places like Bosnia technologists who create ever-more destructive land mines [and convince them not to build more dangerous mines]. And that has actually worked.

0

Is war an inevitable outcome of competing interests in a complex society? In other words, would war be the same even if human nature were very different? There are mathematical models of large groups working together that lead to conflict on a reliable basis. So there's a whole other view of war that is not psychological at all.

0

We imagine "pure" cybernetic systems, but we can prove only that we know how to build fairly dysfunctional ones. We kid ourselves when we think we understand something, even a computer, merely because we can model or digitize it.

0

The attribution of intelligence to machines, crowds of fragments, or other nerd deities obscures more than it illuminates. When people are told that a computer is intelligent, they become prone to changing themselves in order to make the computer appear to work better, instead of demanding that the computer be changed to become more useful.

0

We should treat computers as fancy telephones, whose purpose is to connect people.... As long as we remember that we ourselves are the source of our value, our creativity, our sense of reality, then all of our work with computers will be worthwhile and beautiful.

0

The most effective young Facebook users, however -- the ones who will probably be winners if Facebook turns out to be a model of the future they will inhabit as adults -- are the ones who create successful online fictions about themselves.

0

I'd much rather see a world where, when you make some quirky comment on a blog or news story or you upload a video clip, instead of just a moment of fame for your pseudonym, you'll get 50 bucks. The first time that happens, you'll realise that you're a full-class citizen. You have the potential to make money from the system.

0

You have to be somebody before you can share yourself.

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The beauty of HTML was that one-way linking made it very simple to spread because you could put something up and take no responsibility whatsoever. And that creates a society in which people display no responsibility whatsoever. That's the problem.

0

Human beings either function as individuals or as members of a pack.

There's a switch inside us, deep in our spirit, that you can turn one way or the other. It's almost always the case that our worst behaviour comes out when we're switched to the mob setting. The problem with a lot of software designs is that they switch us to that setting.

0

If you listen first, and write later, then what you write will have had time to filter through your brain and you'll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?

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Evolution has never found a way to be any speed but very slow.

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I think that one can seek a way to eliminate war, and still agree that fighting the Nazis was a good thing.

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A file-sharing service and a hedge fund are essentially the same things.

In both cases, there's this idea that whoever has the biggest computer can analyze everyone else to their advantage and concentrate wealth and power. It's shrinking the overall economy. I think it's the mistake of our age.

0

Information is alienated experience.

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If you want to know what's really going on in a society or ideology, follow the money. If money is flowing to advertising instead of musicians, journalists, and artists, then a society is more concerned with manipulation than truth or beauty.

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It's possible, without taking sides or playing the statesman game, to reduce destruction simply by reducing the development of technology of destruction.

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Siren Servers are narcissists; blind to where value comes from, including the web of global interdependence that is at the core of their own value.

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My parents were kind of like me in that they had tons and tons of weird, amazing stuff.

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