You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto et plus d'un million d'autres livres sont disponibles pour le Kindle d'Amazon. En savoir plus
EUR 7,87
  • Tous les prix incluent la TVA.
Il ne reste plus que 3 exemplaire(s) en stock (d'autres exemplaires sont en cours d'acheminement).
Expédié et vendu par Amazon.
Emballage cadeau disponible.
Quantité :1
You Are Not A Gadget: A M... a été ajouté à votre Panier
Amazon rachète votre
article EUR 1,00 en chèque-cadeau.
Vous l'avez déjà ?
Repliez vers l'arrière Repliez vers l'avant
Ecoutez Lecture en cours... Interrompu   Vous écoutez un extrait de l'édition audio Audible
En savoir plus
Voir les 4 images

You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto (Anglais) Broché – 3 février 2011

Voir les 8 formats et éditions Masquer les autres formats et éditions
Prix Amazon Neuf à partir de Occasion à partir de
Format Kindle
"Veuillez réessayer"
"Veuillez réessayer"
EUR 7,87
EUR 4,87 EUR 4,82

Offres spéciales et liens associés

Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble

You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto + Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Prix pour les deux : EUR 20,53

Acheter les articles sélectionnés ensemble

Descriptions du produit


an apocalypse of self- abdication

THE IDEAS THAT I hope will not be locked in rest on a philosophical foundation that I sometimes call cybernetic totalism. It applies metaphors from certain strains of computer science to people and the rest of reality. Pragmatic objections to this philosophy are presented.

What Do You Do When the Techies Are Crazier Than the Luddites?

The Singularity is an apocalyptic idea originally proposed by John von Neumann, one of the inventors of digital computation, and elucidated by figures such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil.

There are many versions of the fantasy of the Singularity. Here’s the one Marvin Minsky used to tell over the dinner table in the early 1980s: One day soon, maybe twenty or thirty years into the twenty- first century, computers and robots will be able to construct copies of themselves, and these copies will be a little better than the originals because of intelligent software. The second generation of robots will then make a third, but it will take less time, because of the improvements over the first

The process will repeat. Successive generations will be ever smarter and will appear ever faster. People might think they’re in control, until one fine day the rate of robot improvement ramps up so quickly that superintelligent robots will suddenly rule the Earth.

In some versions of the story, the robots are imagined to be microscopic, forming a “gray goo” that eats the Earth; or else the internet itself comes alive and rallies all the net- connected machines into an army to control the affairs of the planet. Humans might then enjoy immortality within virtual reality, because the global brain would be so huge that it would be absolutely easy—a no-brainer, if you will—for it to host all our consciousnesses for eternity.

The coming Singularity is a popular belief in the society of technologists. Singularity books are as common in a computer science department as Rapture images are in an evangelical bookstore.

(Just in case you are not familiar with the Rapture, it is a colorful belief in American evangelical culture about the Christian apocalypse. When I was growing up in rural New Mexico, Rapture paintings would often be found in places like gas stations or hardware stores. They would usually include cars crashing into each other because the virtuous drivers had suddenly disappeared, having been called to heaven just before the onset of hell on Earth. The immensely popular Left Behind novels also describe this scenario.)

There might be some truth to the ideas associated with the Singularity at the very largest scale of reality. It might be true that on some vast cosmic basis, higher and higher forms of consciousness inevitably arise, until the whole universe becomes a brain, or something along those lines. Even at much smaller scales of millions or even thousands of years, it is more exciting to imagine humanity evolving into a more wonderful state than we can presently articulate. The only alternatives would be extinction or stodgy stasis, which would be a little disappointing and sad, so let us hope for transcendence of the human condition, as we now
understand it.

The difference between sanity and fanaticism is found in how well the believer can avoid confusing consequential differences in timing. If you believe the Rapture is imminent, fixing the problems of this life might not be your greatest priority. You might even be eager to embrace wars and tolerate poverty and disease in others to bring about the conditions that could prod the Rapture into being. In the same way, if you believe the Singularity is coming soon, you might cease to design technology to serve humans, and prepare instead for the grand events it will bring.

But in either case, the rest of us would never know if you had been right. Technology working well to improve the human condition is detectable, and you can see that possibility portrayed in optimistic science fiction like Star Trek.

The Singularity, however, would involve people dying in the flesh and being uploaded into a computer and remaining conscious, or people simply being annihilated in an imperceptible instant before a new superconsciousness takes over the Earth. The Rapture and the Singularity share one thing in common: they can never be verified by the living.

You Need Culture to Even Perceive Information Technology

Ever more extreme claims are routinely promoted in the new digital climate. Bits are presented as if they were alive, while humans are transient fragments. Real people must have left all those anonymous comments on blogs and video clips, but who knows where they are now, or if they are dead? The digital hive is growing at the expense of individuality.

Kevin Kelly says that we don’t need authors anymore, that all the ideas of the world, all the fragments that used to be assembled into coherent books by identifiable authors, can be combined into one single, global book. Wired editor Chris Anderson proposes that science should no longer seek theories that scientists can understand, because the digital cloud will understand them better anyway.*

Antihuman rhetoric is fascinating in the same way that selfdestruction is fascinating: it offends us, but we cannot look away.

The antihuman approach to computation is one of the most baseless ideas in human history. A computer isn’t even there unless a person experiences it. There will be a warm mass of patterned silicon with electricity coursing through it, but the bits don’t mean anything without a cultured person to interpret them.

This is not solipsism. You can believe that your mind makes up the world, but a bullet will still kill you. A virtual bullet, however, doesn’t even exist unless there is a person to recognize it as a representation of a bullet. Guns are real in a way that computers are not.

Making People Obsolete So That Computers Seem More Advanced

Many of today’s Silicon Valley intellectuals seem to have embraced what used to be speculations as certainties, without the spirit of unbounded curiosity that originally gave rise to them. Ideas that were once tucked away in the obscure world of artificial intelligence labs have gone mainstream in tech culture. The first tenet of this new culture is that all of reality, including humans, is one big information system. That doesn’t mean we are condemned to a meaningless existence. Instead there is a new kind of manifest destiny that provides us with a mission to accomplish. The meaning of life, in this view, is making the digital system we
call reality function at ever- higher “levels of description.”

People pretend to know what “levels of description” means, but I doubt anyone really does. A web page is thought to represent a higher level of description than a single letter, while a brain is a higher level than a web page. An increasingly common extension of this notion is that the net as a whole is or soon will be a higher level than a brain. There’s nothing special about the place of humans in this scheme. Computers will soon get so big and fast and the net so rich with information that people will be obsolete, either left behind like the characters in Rapture novels or subsumed into some cyber-superhuman something.

Silicon Valley culture has taken to enshrining this vague idea and spreading it in the way that only technologists can. Since implementation speaks louder than words, ideas can be spread in the designs of software. If you believe the distinction between the roles of people and computers is starting to dissolve, you might express that—as some friends of mine at Microsoft once did—by designing features for a word processor that are supposed to know what you want, such as when you want to start an outline within your document. You might have had the experience of having Microsoft Word suddenly determine, at the wrong moment, that you are creating an indented outline. While I am all for the automation of petty tasks, this is different.

From my point of view, this type of design feature is nonsense, since you end up having to work more than you would otherwise in order to manipulate the software’s expectations of you. The real function of the feature isn’t to make life easier for people. Instead, it promotes a new philosophy: that the computer is evolving into a life-form that can understand people better than people can understand themselves.

Another example is what I call the “race to be most meta.” If a design like Facebook or Twitter depersonalizes people a little bit, then another service like Friendfeed— which may not even exist by the time this book is published— might soon come along to aggregate the previous layers of aggregation, making individual people even more abstract, and the illusion of high- level metaness more celebrated.

Information Doesn’t Deserve to Be Free

“Information wants to be free.” So goes the saying. Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, seems to have said it first.

I say that information doesn’t deserve to be free.

Cybernetic totalists love to think of the stuff as if it were alive and had its own ideas and ambitions. But what if information is inanimate? What if it’s even less than inanimate, a mere artifact of human thought? What if only humans are real, and information is not?

Of course, there is a technical use of the term “information” that refers to something entirely real. This is the kind of information that’s related to entropy. But that fundamental kind of information, which exists independently of the culture of an observer, is not the same as the kind we can put in computers, the kind that supposedly wants to be free.

Information is alienated experience.

You can think of culturally decodable information as a potential form of experience, very much as you can think of a brick resting on a ledge as storing potential energy. When the brick is prodded to fall, the energy is revealed. That is only possible because it was lifted into place at some point in the past.

In the same way, stored information might cause experience to be revealed if it is prodded in the right way. A file on a hard disk does indeed contain information of the kind that objectively exists. The fact that the bits are discernible instead of being scrambled into mush—the way heat scrambles things—is what makes them bits.

But if the bits can potentially mean something to someone, they can only do so if they are experienced. When that happens, a commonality of culture is enacted between the storer and the retriever of the bits. Experience is the only process that can de- alienate information.

Information of the kind that purportedly wants to be free is nothing but a shadow of our own minds, and wants nothing on its own. It will not suffer if it doesn’t get what it wants.

But if you want to make the transition from the old religion, where you hope God will give you an afterlife, to the new religion, where you hope to become immortal by getting uploaded into a computer, then you have to believe information is real and alive. So for you, it will be important to redesign human institutions like art, the economy, and the law to reinforce the perception that information is alive. You demand that the rest of us live in your new conception of a state religion. You need us to deify information to reinforce your faith.

*Chris Anderson, “The End of Theory,” Wired, June 23, 2008 ( 16- 07/pb_theory).

From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

Fabulous - I couldn't put it down and shouted out Yes! Yes! on many pages . . . This is a landmark book that will have people talking and arguing for years into the future. (Lee Smolin)

Lucid, powerful and persuasive . . . Necessary reading for anyone interested in how the Web and the software we use every day are reshaping culture and the marketplace (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

There is hardly a page that does not contain some fascinating provocation (Guardian)

Mind-bending, exuberant, brilliant (Washington Post)

A pioneer in the development of virtual reality and a Silicon Valley veteran, Mr. Lanier is a digital-world insider concerned with the effect that online collectivism and the current enshrinement of "the wisdom of the crowd" is having on artists, intellectual property rights and the larger social and cultural landscape. In taking on such issues, he's written an illuminating book that is as provocative as it is impassioned. (Michiko Kakutani's Top 10 Books of the Year 2010 New York Times)

In the world of technologists, Jaron Lanier is that rare combination: a pioneer and a skeptic. A legendary computer scientist, he did crucial early work in the field of virtual reality (the phrase is his). But he now recoils at the way Web 2.0 and social media sell us short as human beings, both in our relationships and in our sense of who we are. In purposeful, reasoned steps, always informed by a profound understanding of how software really works, he lays out his vision of where it all went wrong and champions the power of the human brain in an age of ever smarter machines. (Lev Grossman Time Magazine Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010)

Vendez cet article - Prix de rachat jusqu'à EUR 1,00
Vendez You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto contre un chèque-cadeau d'une valeur pouvant aller jusqu'à EUR 1,00, que vous pourrez ensuite utiliser sur tout le site Les valeurs de rachat peuvent varier (voir les critères d'éligibilité des produits). En savoir plus sur notre programme de reprise Amazon Rachète.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 240 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (3 février 2011)
  • Collection : PRESS NF PB
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0141049111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141049113
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 1,4 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 9.716 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  •  Souhaitez-vous compléter ou améliorer les informations sur ce produit ? Ou faire modifier les images?

En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Découvrez des livres, informez-vous sur les écrivains, lisez des blogs d'auteurs et bien plus encore.

Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
Parcourir les pages échantillon
Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
Rechercher dans ce livre:

Commentaires en ligne

4.5 étoiles sur 5
5 étoiles
4 étoiles
3 étoiles
2 étoiles
1 étoiles
Voir les deux commentaires client
Partagez votre opinion avec les autres clients

Commentaires client les plus utiles

2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Jacques COULARDEAU le 12 février 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is small by its size but it is enormous by the subject it discusses. He starts in an extremely positive way by saying: “Technologies are extensions of ourselves.” (p. 4) We could then believe he was going to follow Marshall McLuhan in his tracks since the latter was the inventor of this idea in many books covering a full history of human technology and how each step of it was a new extension of one new sense or one new physiological, sensorial or mental ability of man. We could have expected Jaron Lanier was going to show how the “cloud” or “web 2.0” were extensions of ourselves, of our central nervous system for example, of our brain maybe, or our mind.

But Jaron Lanier does not even refer to Marshall McLuhan. And he does not follow that track.

He targets two types of Technologists he identifies as “cybernetic totalists” and “digital Maoists.” This community is qualified by what they advocate or represent. First of all they are the open culture community, those people who consider everything has to be on the Internet and everything on the Internet has to be free of access, economically free hence everyone can get it for nothing, and what’s more everyone can do what they want with what they find and appropriate freely. Jaron Lanier calls that mashups. These people believe in Creative Commons, a license that is no license at all, a license that authorizes anyone who wants to use something for a non commercial production to do it without in anyway contacting the initial proprietor and without leaving any tracks behind. The appropriated “goods” are thus used in all possible ways without anyone knowing really who is responsible for the final product or products thus produced, the afore-mentioned mashups.
Lire la suite ›
Remarque sur ce commentaire Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
Merci pour votre commentaire. Si ce commentaire est inapproprié, dites-le nous.
Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer
Par vecek le 17 août 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Jaron Lanier en tant que programmeur nous donne les clés pour mieux comprendre comment les logiciels façonnent notre façon de vivre.
Remarque sur ce commentaire Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
Merci pour votre commentaire. Si ce commentaire est inapproprié, dites-le nous.
Désolé, nous n'avons pas réussi à enregistrer votre vote. Veuillez réessayer

Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 111 commentaires
194 internautes sur 210 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A critical take on Web 2.0: People first 14 janvier 2010
Par Michael A. Duvernois - Publié sur
Format: Relié
"Technology criticism," the author writes, "should not be left to the Luddites." Jaron Lanier is certainly no Luddite, but in this "manifesto" he blasts the Web 2.0 mentality, highlights long-standing technology lock-ins, and ranges far and wide in his criticisms of the Internet, computing, and the cultures surrounding the two today.

The core of his argument is that the achievements of the Web 2.0 collaborations are neither exciting, nor new. "Let's suppose that, back in the 1980s, I had said, `In a quarter century, when the digital revolution has made great progress and computer chips are millions of times faster than they are now, humanity will finally win the prize of being able to write a new encyclopedia and a new version of UNIX!' It would," he writes, "have sounded utterly pathetic." He's referring to Wikipedia and Linux, two clear successes of collaborative construction. And furthermore, the intellectual work of those thousands of people have been undervalued, in fact, they're unpaid volunteers. The middle classes have spent their hours working without paid to build wonderful constructs for the profits of major companies. I write this book review, unpaid, with Amazon looking to earn money from selling more copies of this book...

Ranging further across the Web 2.0 field, Jaron notes the Facebook and Myspace pages in their prescribed formats with individuals reduced to favorite books, movies, five options for politics, and six options for relationship status. Other parts look at technology lock-in, with the example of MIDI. It was developed in the early 1980s for keyboard synthesizer control and output, and reproduces the nuances of a keyboard but not, for example, a violin. It would be hard to get support for a new, broader tool. "A thousand years from now, when a descendant of ours is traveling at relativistic speeds to explore new star systems, she will probably be annoyed by some awful beepy MIDI-driven music to alert her that the antimatter filter needs to be recalibrated."

Well, I certainly don't agree with everything Jaron has to say, even if I do fondly recall the handmade (with blink tags) web pages from before the AOL deluge (the September without end) when the masses discovered the Internet. There's a lot of crap online, but then again, there's a lot of crap everywhere. I can happily share my family photos over Facebook with people who barely are computer literate, and still be critical of the silly lock-ins of the Facebook pages. Lanier is not a Luddite though, he doesn't want us to smash the digital world, but wants to criticize it to make it better. Nothing wrong with that, whether we agree with his criticism or not.
117 internautes sur 126 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thought provoking and worthy of your time. 15 janvier 2010
Par Robert Busko - Publié sur
Format: Relié
In his book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, Jaron Lanier becomes a solitary voice in the wilderness shouting as loudly as he can that all is not well with the virtual world nor with the tools that make the virtual world and computers. That this book was written by an insider from the world of the Internet should get everyone's attention.

Jaron Lanier is a household name for those who follow the world of computers and virtual reality and his book is nothing more than a manifesto warning us that there is a dark side to the Internet. Even innocuous websites such as Facebook and Google, "lords of the cloud" do not escape Lanier's expose. "Emphasizing the crowd means de-emphasizing individual humans" and that, in the end, leads to "mob" behavior. Utterly true.

As I flipped through the book, the point that resonated most loudly to me was the impact `anonymity' has had on our virtual world (and maybe the real world as well). I can remember visiting a chat room that was dedicated to "Books and Literature" in 2000 or 2001. As a librarian I was naturally drawn to a space that I thought would be filled with others like me who had a love of the written word and for good books. Did that assumption back fire? You bet! What I found was a chat area filled with virtual people who wanted to chat about anything but books and literature. If I were to post a question about what people were reading or what they thought of a given book I was torn (virtually) from limb to limb. Having served in the military I have a pretty good operational understanding of foul language, and I'm pretty good at throwing the words around when necessary. However, that this language would be used in that particular venue by people who could remain anonymous was a shock. I'm pretty certain that most of the visitors to that website hadn't read a book in years and had no problem violating the most basic rules of civility. Lanier is correct when he argues that this is not a step in the right direction. (Please forgive this personal observation)

Obviously I'm a fan of the virtual world. I post reviews online for free (which is another point Lanier makes) but the joy isn't the posting of reviews but in reading the books; real books. What Lanier has to say should be of interest to all of us.

You Are Not a Gadget is written for the ordinary reader with a minimal background in computers. Lanier floats from idea to idea not necessarily fully exploring a point, but instead simply raising an issue and then moving on. Very effective!

I predict that You Are Not a Gadget is destined to become a cultural icon in the future. We now point to books such as Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and I'm Ok, You're Ok by Dr. Thomas Harris as books that changed society and altered the future. I suspect that You Are Not a Gadget may become that type of sign post.

I highly recommend.

Peace always.
130 internautes sur 142 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
You are a fluke of the universe. Take full advantage of it. 30 janvier 2010
Par David Wineberg - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
What Jaron Lanier does is take us up 50,000 feet and allow us to view things with perspective. He says we have been overwhelmed by the unnoticed "lock-in" and simply adjust and reduce ourselves to fit the requirements of online dating, social media, forums, and the software we employ. Web 2.0 is homogenizing humanity, taking us down to the lowest common denominator instead of allowing or encouraging us to bloom in different directions. Everything we now "enjoy" seems to be backward looking - music is sampled and retro, news is criticized mercilessly, but very few are creating it any more, relationships are Tweets...

It sounds like Lanier recommends friends don't let friends communicate via Facebook - they do it on the phone or in person. But the direction we are taking instead reduces interaction, kills creativity, journalism, music,'s not as pretty as predicted.

These are truly valuable criticisms, and this is an important, if flawed book. Flawed because after a hundred page pounding of logic and evidence, Lanier spends the second hundred pages telling us how wonderful it is to be a scientist and play with humans and cuttlefish. I was particularly annoyed with a gratuitous couple of paragraphs devoted to swearing, which which he says might be connected to parts of the brain controlling orifices and obscenity.

Well, to my knowledge, swearing is purely cultural, not physiological. In Quebec, the worst swearing is against the Catholic Church, Translated into English "Christ Tabernacle" sounds like something WC Fields said to skirt the censors. But it's the most vile thing you can say in polite conversation in Montreal. On the other hand Motherf----r doesn't translate into French at all. And what's any of this got to do with online reductionism? Zilch - is my point. The last 100 pages is full of such diversions.

Others have pointed to other sections they disagree with, and they all seem to occur in the last half of the book. But don't let that deter you, as it distracted him. The original message is important. People create. Software does not. Software restricts. Don't leave anonymous contributions. Build a creative website of your own design. Probe deeply and uniquely - beyond Wikipedia. Reflect before you blog.

Lanier says our humanity and creativity are being put at risk by the miasma foisted on us by the incredible leveling machine of the internet. Instead of becoming exciting, the internet has become boring. Instead of creating new music, it has assassinated the entire industry. Instead of bringing people together, it lets them off the hook. That's worth exploring, and for about 100 pages, Lanier does a grand job of it.
53 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
one of the best books in a long while 15 janvier 2010
Par Mark bennett - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is a very interesting book. Its a critique of the "internet culture" which has up until now been mostly beyond challenge. The author hits exactly on the key problems of the culture: Collectivism, mob mentality, conformity and the marginalization of the individual. He also hits upon the problem that small decisions made by individuals can lock people into mindsets or patterns of behavior.

Its an excellent book in highlighting the problems of the era. But it doesn't really provide any easy answers about how to change things. And the unfortunate truth is that many of the problems are less to do with technology than human nature.

The joke of "free" software is that it isn't "free" at all. It always comes with a licence agreement which spells out that duties of the individual to the "collective". The innovation of Linux and its licence over the works that had preceeded it was that any additions to Linux belonged to the collective. An individual can't ever own anything.

Wikipedia is even worse. Want to create your own facts or history? Create a web-page where you say something about a particular subject, then quote the webpage as the source for what you want to say on Wikipedia. Suddenly your web page is the equal of any scholarship in the whole of human history.

In pointing to the growth of mob mentality across society and the accompanying anti-intellectual climate, the author has hit upon *the* key philosophical issue in the new century. This is important and necessary book that deserves to be read.


While my review remains positive, I want to point out one major problem in the book. The account of events on p. 125-126 is full of misinformation and errors. The LISP machine in retrospect was a horrible idea. It died because the RISC and MIPS CPU efforts on the west coast were a much better idea. Putting high-level software (LISP) into electronics was a bad idea.

Stallman's disfunctional relationship with Symbolics is badly misrepresented. Stallman's licence was not the first or only free software licence. Where stallman was unique was in that his licenses are more about enforcing the rights of the collective and claiming the work of others than anything to do with making things free. And often the growth of the so-called culture was being driven by personal feuds with the BSD community, with Symbolics and with anyone who dared touch the holy EMACS editor. Much of the time, the so-called movement seemed more about picking fights and asserting control than anything to do with makings things free.

And the irony of Linus Torvalds is that he didn't follow in their footsteps. Stallman and company were driven by flawed collectivism into a massive failed project known as "Hurd". Linus was successful in that he brought an individualist mindset, a simple set of ideas and the ability to get along with other people to his effort. Linux isn't that way anymore, but the reasons that Linux (with no reasources) was successful and the Hurd (with huge resources) was a massive failure presents a case study in how collectivism fails.

There have been any number of massive collectivist failures. To list a few: The OSI networking protocols, the ADA programming language, The first generation of microkernel operating systems, OSF/1 (and the OSF in general), any number of initiatives at the IETF.... Things that have tended to be successful over time are things that grew up in secret.

And calling Linux an "antique" was really strange as is the idea that it represents a 1970s mindset. The fact is that all kinds of people have tried new radical designs for operating systems since the 1980s and they have all generally been dismal failures (like Hurd from GNU). And the fact is, many people who worked on such things discovered over time that investing creativity at the lower levels of the system was generally a bad idea. Abstract entities were best created at the higher levels of systems where hardware and operating system would stay out of the way as much as possible.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Coming Down of Great Expectations 26 février 2010
Par Kevin Currie-Knight - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The first thing that must be said about Jaron Lanier's "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto" is that it a very intricate book, full of several different arguments and lines of thought. It might be best to say that it is a manifesto containing several submanifestos. His arguments against the current directions in "web 2.0" technology are many and multifaceted, taking us through questions of the effectiveness of capitalism, how culture evolves, whether there can really be "wisdom in crowds," and even the nature of what "human" is.

If we have to sum up the book into an overall point or argument, here's how I'd do it: web technology, which was hoped to lead to vigorous innovation and individualization, has done precisely the opposite. On the consumption side, the idea of the "wisdom of crowds" has made the group (Lanier says "hive mind") more important and more "real" than voices of individuals. On the production side, the internet has led less to innovative production than to the recycling of old ideas in new forms, while making it hard for inventors/pioneers to make a living being creative. (Yes, I know I am missing some things in this description but, as mentioned, Lanier's work is very hard to sum up with concision.)

Lanier believes that there are two big reasons for this. First, we are not using our conception of humanity to drive how we shape technology so much as we are allowing technology to shape how we define humanity. A shining example is our faith in the "wisdom of crowds" as exemplified by our increasing obsession with all things wiki. Lanier reminds us that, in reality, there is no such "wisdom in crowds" because crowds are simply collections of individuals making individual decisions. (I would also add that "wisdom of crowds" is a literal impossibility as wisdom can only happen embodied in a point-of-view, of which a crowd has none.)

Secondly, Lanier believes that innovation may be lagging behind expectations because of our belief in the "information wants to be free" model. Yes, this has benefits, like offering information in a way that is accessible to...well...most. But it has the disadvantage of removing the incentives provided by markets out of a market. Lanier often uses the example of music and art: it was thought that the internet would allow more artists to make livings off of their art by removing the middle-men and allowing artists direct access to consumers. But with so much free content and exponentially increased competition, it is becoming even harder for artists to (a) get noticed in the milieu and (b) make a living off of their creativity.

While Lanier does not directly champion capitalism (he does contemplate its goods and bads), I think it is fair to argue that Lanier is championing a market system as the surest spur to innovation. Here, I must quote him directly: ""Why are so many of the more sophisticated examples of code in the online world - like the page-rank algorithm in the top search engines or like Adobe's Flash - the results of proprietary development? Why did the adored iphone come out of what many regarded as the most closed, tyrannically managed software - development shop on earth? An honest empiricist must conclude that while the open approach has been able to create lovely, polished copies, it hasn't been so good at creating notable originals." Lanier is not against the open source movement (think Youtube) altogether, but does present good pragmatic arguments as to why it is severely limited.

In a book so rich and varied, I certainly can't say I agree with everything Lanier puts forth. One of the major criticisms I have of the book is that while Lanier sees the internet's failure to meet expectations as a problem with the internet, he never blames the expectations. By example, Lanier bemoans the fact that much music created in the past 15 years (with technology) hasn't been wholly innovative, as he thought it would be. But I would remind him that such whole-cloth innovation has always been rare. Jazz, he says, was innovative, as were the Bealtes experiments with multi-track recording. Why nothing like that now? Well, Jazz used the same musical forms and concepts of Dixieland before it and ragtime before that. And the Beatles multitrack experiments didn't sound THAT different from the rock and roll which preceded it. Similarly, Lanier bemoans the fact that Wikipedia is simply the combination of the existing ideas of the encyclopedia and usenet. Okay, but couldn't it just be that the encyclopedia and usenet were such good ideas, that combining them is better than scrapping them and inventing from whole-cloth? Long and short, Lanier expected the type of whole-cloth invention out of the internet that never really existed before the internet.

There are several other areas where I think Lanier's arguments are weak (and several places where I think he argues against "straw man" positions held by only a few). I will not get into them as this isn't the place. What I will say is that I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Even though I am sure everyone will find areas of agreement AND disagreement with Lanier, every reader will think very deeply as a result of what he writes. He is neither a luddite nor a techno-utopian, neither a reductionist or a mysterian, and neither a techno-anarchist or techno-Maoist. But he is a challenging thinker who deserves to be thought about.
Ces commentaires ont-ils été utiles ? Dites-le-nous


Souhaitez-vous compléter ou améliorer les informations sur ce produit ? Ou faire modifier les images?