Jaron Lanier

As one of the pioneers and even inventors of the concept of “virtual reality”, Jaron Lanier certainly has a very concrete sense of what it should mean to be human in the 21st century. In his hit manifesto You Are Not A Gadget, the Berkeley based technologist, musician and  theorist argues that today’s crowd sourced content on the Internet is creating a culture of stifling conformity.

Lanier – one of Time magazine’s 100 people who have most influenced the world in 2010 has emerged from inside the technology community as a critical counter to the techno-utopianism of thinkers like his friend Kevin Kelly.  So it was with relish that B&N contributor Andrew Keen sat down with Lanier earlier this month at the Jupiter bar in Berkeley to discuss gadgets, (digital) humanism and why today’s music all sounds the same.


Below, an excerpt (5:42)  from the conversation, in which Jaron Lanier addresses the question of whether young adults today are uncritically accepting of a gadget-enabled life.



Click here to see the full version of the interview (16:38).

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.