I’ve just ordered Jaron Lanier’s new book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto based on a review in Slate by Michael Agger. He writes:
… As near as I can make it out, Lanier's view is that the Web began as a digital Eden. We built homepages by hand, played around in virtual worlds, wrote beautiful little programs for the fun of it, and generally made our humanity present online. The standards had not been set. The big money and the big companies had not yet arrived. Now Google has linked search to advertising. The Internet's long tail helps only the Amazons of the world, not the little guys and gals making songs, videos, and books. Wikipedia, a mediocre product of group writing, has become the intellectual backbone of the Web. And, most depressingly, all of us have been lumped into a "hive mind" that every entrepreneur with a dollar and a dream is trying to parse for profit. …
It seems to be a critique in many ways of how derivative content has become in the Web 2.0 age; how we’re replacing creativity with rehashing what’s come before.
Today’s episode (hour 2) of the NPR program, On Point with Tom Ashbrook is a discussion of the book with guests Lanier and long-time Web visionary (co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto), David Weinberger. --Dennis