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Jaron Lanier Rants Against the World of Web 2.0

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the cue-up-disinterested-erudite-analysis dept.

Social Networks 231

hao3 writes "In his new book, You Are Not A Gadget, former Wired writer Jaron Lanier bemoans what the internet has become. 'It's early in the twenty-first century, and that means that these words will mostly be read by nonpersons,' it begins. The words will be 'minced into anatomized search engine keywords,' then 'copied millions of times by some algorithm somewhere designed to send an advertisement,' and then, in a final insult, 'scanned, rehashed, and misrepresented by crowds of quick and sloppy readers.' Lanier's conclusion: 'Real human eyes will read these words in only a tiny minority of the cases.' He goes on to criticise Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, open-source software and what he calls the 'hive mind.'"

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231 comments

Can someone summarize this? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639586)

I didn't read the article.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (1)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639616)

Me neither.

But the title "Web 2.0" is definitely marketer speak. If it were titled by programmers it would be web0.2alpha. Definitely not ready for production use.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639832)

Web0.2alpha ? Enjoy it is not called web3.51 !

Re:Can someone summarize this? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639968)

I'm already using Web 2.5TDi anyway. It's a bit slower flat-out but it's a lot more economical to run and easier to work on.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (0, Redundant)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640162)

That's because you are not using ReadyBoost(tm) with AstroGlide technology on top of it.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639840)

But the title "Web 2.0" is definitely marketer speak. If it were titled by programmers it would be web0.2alpha. Definitely not ready for production use.

Unless those programmers were the same guys behind KDE 4.0.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639672)

Executive summary: the microcomputer (as opposed to the mainframe) world is an open sewer. Always has been, always will be.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (3, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639736)

You know this is just a stunt to get someone to read his article. Well, we of the internet generation will not be duped so easily!!!

Re:Can someone summarize this? (5, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639790)

Indeed, if web 2.0 leads to content being scanned, rehashed, and misrepresented by crowds of quick and sloppy readers then we're way ahead of the curve. Go Slashdot!

I do wonder how many of his concerns are actually unique to web 2.0, and not common to the social use of the web in general. Maybe I should read it.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639980)

My thought: "Well. With an attitude like that, fine, I *won't* read the article."

Re:Can someone summarize this? (2, Funny)

rishistar (662278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640156)

I didn't read the article.

no probs, i put the summary up as a twitter post.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640296)

I think it is our duty not to read the article but to comment on it anyway. If we do that we will be proving his point of view correct. If we all read it carefuly and comment knowedgably on what it says then his theory will be first, it [i]will[/i] be well read by real people. You know sadly he has come across the self-destructing article: "Hardly anyone will read this". It is bound to be either largley unread or wrong.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640360)

Ok. It's actually a review of the book in question. And to sum up the review: Lanier feels the same way about creativity as most people do about hot dogs. You'd rather see the finished work than the million steps between. The earlier process didn't show these steps of inspiration so you could imagine things were more revolutionary than evolutionary.

Re:Can someone summarize this? (1)

Caption Wierd (1164059) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640428)

I appreciate and agree with his point, at least as far as I can tell. There are way too many articles out there to read. That's why I use the nonpersons to filter for topics that I care about and use the crowds or quick and sloppy readers to provide perspective and technical intrepetation. For example, I doubt that I would be interested in this book. Many thanks to the quick and sloppy readers for saving my time!

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639590)

Hopala

Regarding his comments on music (4, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639596)

Lanier, being someone involved heavily in the music scene, should know that this isn't the first time music has stalled out. Back in the early 20th century, the classical world of music didn't know where to go, which is what led to atrocities like atonalism and serial music. I love nearly all kinds of music, but 12 tone rows really try my patience. By the late 19th century composers had exausted most of the possibilities with "academic" type of music thinking, forms like Ragtime became popular and it wasn't really until the arrival of early Jazz that it obvious where to go. Thus began an era less rooted in rules. Now we've nearly exhausted all the possibilities of this ruleless era of music and someone (Like Gershwin) will need to show us the way to another era in music. Its interesting that both musical "stallings" have happened around the same time as revolutions in technology. The first one at the height of the industrial era and this one at the height of the information era.

Re:Regarding his comments on music (1, Interesting)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639842)

Um, so what about Gorecki? Pärt? Riley? Adams? Glass? Schnittke? Yes, there are popular forms entering into "classical" music. But the stuff that happened at the turn of the last century is still very relevant. And your post suggests that people like the Bachs weren't into music theory, which is untrue; all the way back to the Middle Ages music was approached as a logical construct that can be theorized, often because its logics had metaphysical and ontological implications. And of course many jazz artists were not only incredibly intelligent about music theory but they also composed in a fairly academic way to achieve that "ruleless" effect--which is not ruleless at all, only seeming so to someone untutored in the operating set of rules. Consider Mingus. Anyway, the description you offer is so over-simplified that all it does is convey anti-intellectual prejudices. I will counter argue that in an age when information is so readily available that the ability to synthesize and offer synoptic perspectives via intellectual work is all the more important because that's what is in short supply, relative to the glut of dumb (unspeaking) facts.

Re:Regarding his comments on music (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639866)

You know, when you criticize someone who has cited atonalism, Gershwin, and jazz for being anti-intellectual and prejudiced, I think you have a major persecution complex and you really need to look up what "projection" means as a psychological term.

Re:Regarding his comments on music (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640206)

Since when is throwing buzzwords (and names) around considered intellectual?

Re:Regarding his comments on music (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640046)

His post doesn't at all suggest that music theory is a new thing, I don't know where you got that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_tone_technique [wikipedia.org]

Seriously, I love classical music, but the turn of the century(ish) atonal stuff is barely music. And the twelve tone technique is barely theory. It's more of an algorithm to churn out annoying random sounding music.

Re:Regarding his comments on music (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640076)

Back in the early 20th century, the classical world of music didn't know where to go, which is what led to atrocities like atonalism and serial music. I love nearly all kinds of music, but 12 tone rows really try my patience.

That's probably because the stuff you've heard that uses 12-tone rows sucks. Try Alban Berg's Lyric Suite, and just listen to it, don't try to read any of the analysis about pitch classes or what rows he used or any of that nonsense. The accusation is partially true, though. There was a period of about 30 years where some academic composers were trying to create mathematically perfect music. They failed utterly, and produced a lot of unlistenable junk, a lot of it sounding completely random.

At the same time, in most musical eras, a lot of unlistenable junk was written and played. It didn't last until the present-day, though, because it was unlistenable junk. The stuff that has lasted this long has done so mostly because they were the best of the best, and I think it's fair to say that the best of the best of 20th century stuff will be with us a very long time as well. Stravinsky's Rites of Spring and Copland's Appalachian Spring are both going to be with us for a very very long time, just like Beethoven's 5th is still very much a part of our culture.

(In the interests of disclosure: I studied composition with a student of Arnold Schoenberg, so I'm a bit biased towards 12-tone music)

Re:Regarding his comments on music (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640352)

I'd be wary of making blanket condemnations of twelve-tone music as something that universally repels people. That may be true for audiences in some places, but where I live in Finland, there's a 5-year Schoenberg project going on that draws the same subscriber audience that likes their Brahms and Beethoven. Furthermore, twelve-tone rows have popped up in a number of pieces considered crowd-pleasers, like Rautavaara's Third and Seventh Symphonies (a recording of the last having become a European best-seller and Grammy winner).

Isn't It... (2, Insightful)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639612)

basically one big [social/research/collaboration] networking site...just as it was meant to be??

Re:Isn't It... (3, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639738)

Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along. -- Tim Berners-Lee

Re:Isn't It... (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639914)

Correct. Exactly the same...should have specified that in my original post. (:

I only read the summary... (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639624)

...that was probably enough though. This guy really missed the point. In today's copyright anything and everything climate, people start coming up with some really strange ideas about content and its value. "If someone reads it, I want to get paid!!" They get needlessly bothered when machines read it and process it for search engines. It rather reminds me of some "robot fears" that people may have had.

Why not just come out and say it? "I'm afraid of things I don't understand! Let's kill it!"

Re:I only read the summary... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639638)

"If someone thinks about reading it, I want to get paid!!"

Fixed that for you.

Re:I only read the summary... (1, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639948)

Robot fears? My grandmother died when a Robot ate her medication you insensitive clod.

Re:I only read the summary... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640024)

She dropped her pills on the ground and happens to own a Roomba?

Re:I only read the summary... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640026)

by only reading the summary and not the article itself, you are simply proving the article's statement that most posts will not be read by more than a few people true.

Re:I only read the summary... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640130)

So? Why would we expect any different? This has always been true, long before "web 2" or even the Internet. The number of people that will see or hear what most people will write or say is always fairly low, unless you're someone who is or becomes famous.

The Internet has made things better in this regard (I bet more people will still read this comment of mine, compared with if all I could do is say it to a person near me in real life; similarly it's an awful lot easier to transmit information between all of my friends, than before the Internet), but it can't work miracles.

If not many people read what he writes, that's his issue, not the medium's.

Re:I only read the summary... (1)

IdiotBoy (5883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640042)

that was probably enough though.

Not even close. You might have more success in the future if you can figure out a way to relate your knee-jerk reactions to the actual content of the posted material. I know that expecting you to actually read it is out of the question. Maybe you could find some way to get Mechanical Turkers to poorly summarize it in such a way as to provide hooks for your hastily composed responses.

Re:I only read the summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640116)

This is the kind of thinking that killed Project Xanadu [wikipedia.org].

Quit the whining (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639634)

I have been on the net since late 70's/early 80s (though intermittent until late 80's). It is changing. SO WHAT? The problem is that you have somebody that works for MS gripping about Google and their associates again. Nothing worse than an illegally acquired/held monopoly that grips about a naturally acquired/held monopoly that can be EASILY toppled. THe only real issue is that MS is not trying to develop new ideas. They are working to topple "the Google" and make sure that only they control the net.

Jaron Lanier gives me the creeps (4, Interesting)

LS (57954) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639658)

This dude was the epitome of "digerati" poser hype acting as some kind of digital prophet spouting buzzwords and hot air during the web 1.0 bubble. He's been riding the 15 minutes he got from his work on the failed VRML for way too long.

Anyone could sit back and smoke a lot of joints and come up with new ways of talking about old things, but it doesn't mean they are necessarily interesting. This dude is the poster boy for what everyone hated about the dotcom era - a lot of hype and no substance.

Re:Jaron Lanier gives me the creeps (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640038)

"This dude is the poster boy for what everyone hated about the dotcom era - a lot of hype and no substance."

You say that like it ended with the dotcom era.

He's right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639660)

He's right. In an alternative world, no-one would read his words at all, which would be much better. How far we've fallen.

Whining about folk-art webpages... (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639670)

In the early days when roads were invented, they were winding romantic sand paths through lush forests, over hills and through valleys, following the path of the creek.

Now, 6-lane highways cut through mountains - but hey, they can get you from A to B in less than no time.

If you like to make an original website, this is still possible. You CAN still have your own site, do all the html yourself. Alternatively, you can also spend less than 10 minutes to get your blog online, or less than 15 to have a photo album online.

Thing is - where the masses previously had no websites, they now have a facebook account... which is equally empty as no website at all. But internet did not lose anything - it just didn't gain anything either.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639804)

In the early days when roads were invented, they were winding romantic sand paths through lush forests, over hills and through valleys, following the path of the creek.

Have you never seen a Roman road? They're every bit as straight and direct as anything we make today.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (2, Insightful)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639984)

Romans didn't invent roads.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (1, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640114)

Debatable. They built some of the first things that would be recognised as roads. Before the Romans, the closest things were tracks where the land had been eroded by a lot of people and horses walking over the same path.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640448)

Before the Romans, the closest things were tracks where the land had been eroded by a lot of people and horses walking over the same path.

What about the, Persians [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639910)

If you like to make an original website, this is still possible. You CAN still have your own site, do all the html yourself. Alternatively, you can also spend less than 10 minutes to get your blog online, or less than 15 to have a photo album online.

This is a good insight as there is a serious time commitment to (a) figuring out a good format for publishing your own website, and (b) figuring out the content that you want to put up there.

The whole social networking bend takes the issue of deciding on format completely out of consideration, which is oftentimes a good thing because creating a visual appealing design is not a trivial thing to do.

As an aside, I mange my own site [robertvandyk.com] and have recently committed heavily to letting Flickr and Del.icio.us handle important blocks of content that I make available through my site and I am *very* pleased with the way these services have streamlined my ability to run my site.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640010)

"If you like to make an original website, this is still possible."

I think his bigger issue is that nobody is doing that anymore, so it is becoming impossible to find such things. Maybe he has weird taste or memory distortion, though, because my memory of personal web pages from the 90s is of horrible marquee text, blink text, animated gifs, and black backgrounds without hundreds of different colors in the text.

"Thing is - where the masses previously had no websites, they now have a facebook account... which is equally empty as no website at all. But internet did not lose anything - it just didn't gain anything either."

Actually, it did lose something: openness. Facebook is closed off to anyone without a Facebook account, which is definitely a change from the way things used to be done. Sure, there were places that you had to log in to in order to participate during the 90s, but I have trouble remembering websites that required a login just to see what users had posted.

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640192)

Facebook is closed off to anyone without a Facebook account

That is a feature, not a bug. It is one of the things that make it rather successful. I dont want any random jackass viewing my profile.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, information wants to be free and I shouldn't put it on the internet if I dont want all to see it. Well, guess what--I dont want everybody to see it, I only want people I invite to see it. If I can't use the internet for that purpose, what can I use?

Re:Whining about folk-art webpages... (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640432)

"That is a feature, not a bug. It is one of the things that make it rather successful. I dont want any random jackass viewing my profile."

Well, I have to wonder what you are posting that has you so worried about individual people seeing it. Look, I am with you on privacy being important, but why focus on individuals? Facebook does not hide your information from the large organizations that really have the power to invade your privacy.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, information wants to be free and I shouldn't put it on the internet if I dont want all to see it."

Pretty much; why would you post something online, with no encryption whatsoever, if you wanted to keep it between you and your friends? Also, why, if this is personal information between you and your friends, would you need to use the global Internet at all? Do you not see your friends in person? Are you and your friends incapable of using email?

Really, the whole situation sounds bizarre from where I sit. You have this information that you believe should remain between you and your friends, so you post it on a massive, global network and rely on a massively popular, international website with hundreds of millions of users and a history of failing to respect privacy, to ensure that the data is only accessible by your friends. Yeah, I know Facebook is popular and trendy and whatnot, but I really cannot see why you would post information on Facebook that you did not want to spread beyond a close circle of friends.

"Well, guess what--I dont want everybody to see it, I only want people I invite to see it. If I can't use the internet for that purpose, what can I use?"

Well, you could do what I do: show your pictures off to your friends when they are sitting next to your computer, talk to them in person, and engage in non-electronic social interactions. For friends in far away places, there is email, IM, telephone, etc., none of which runs the risk of some "random jackass" stumbling across your conversation (unless the jackass is trying to eavesdrop, but do you really think Facebook is going to protect you from such people?).

Is the summary a trick? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639678)

Are they trying to guilt us into RTFA? I, for one, will carry on commenting on articles I haven't read.

Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639680)

Why does music have to always evolve? What's wrong with enjoying music, indeed anything, the way it is now? I get so sick any tired that everything has to be on the zeitgeist, has to be so now that as soon as you realise it's now, it's already then! Enjoy what you have right now, then when you feel ready move on, don't feel pressured to move on.

Sounds like Lanier is a sad old hippy fed up with trying to keep up with everything and burning out by shouting his mouth off. Sorry mate, but the world is bigger place, if you want to stay ahead of a game, you need to pick a smaller game, most of the games these days are too big for one individual!

"More to life than increasing it's speed." - Mahatma Ghandi

Beta Tag (0, Offtopic)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639686)

The shiny, reflective Beta tag: an all-inclusive license to publish pretty software with zero reliability

Has the number of people reading really changed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639688)

The internet allows a lot of people with a short attention span to join a very large "library", but I guess only on occasion, do they seriously read.
There's nothing wrong about reading processed magazines and entertainment. Most people are not intellectuals. Never have been, never will be.

Re:Has the number of people reading really changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639856)

tl;dr, u troll

Insulting the people who made him (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639696)

The hypocrisy!

This guy got his reputation from our technology - now he goes around insulting the people who read his gushings.

misrepresented by crowds of quick and sloppy readers

It sounds like he has become altogether too precious about his own opinions and superiority (in his own mind, at least) and forgets that every printed word he's ever made money from has gone through exactly the same process of being edited, distributed and read (and possibly mis-understood - but isn't that HIS failure, not the reader's?) as the electronic texts he is so critical of.

Re:Insulting the people who made him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639852)

> This guy got his reputation from our technology

What do you mean by "our"?

Re:Insulting the people who made him (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640276)

I think he meant 'your mother's technology' as in 'I interfaced with your mother's technology all night long.'

Whah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30639710)

So basically Lanier is pissed because he used to be the cutting-edge shamany type, and he wants to still be that person. Unfortunately (for him, not us) time has passed him by and he stagnated. He kind of reminds me of Uncle Rico, reminiscing and bemoaning about his glory days and how different things would be if only everyone else "got it"...but ultimately only Uncle Rico and Jaron give a damn about what they think. Ride off into the sunset, Jaron; there are some friends waiting there for you.

Worse than DRM (5, Interesting)

jfenwick (961674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639726)

"He does propose a solution to the difficulty of how to compensate artists, artisans, and programmers in a digital era: a content database that would be run by some kind of government organization: "We should effectively keep only one copy of each cultural expression—as with a book or song—and pay the author of that expression a small, affordable amount whenever it's accessed." According to the article, Lanier wants a pay per use SOA, the very strategy Microsoft has been trying to implement as a strategy for years. It's the ultimate greed based mashup of DRM and cloud technology possible, all mandated by the government. I wouldn't be surprised if this happened in the near future.

Re:Worse than DRM (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639850)

"We should effectively keep only one copy of each cultural expression--as with a book or song--and pay the author of that expression a small, affordable amount whenever it's accessed."

I should pay my plumber every time I flush, forever. And, I should pay some carpenter every time I go up or down "their" stairs. Its not fair that they don't have a perpetual revenue stream from work they did in the past.

Re:Worse than DRM (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640082)

Maybe we need to go back to art's roots - a patron system. Except instead of a single rich guy to be your patron, you could have a legion of adoring fans who are all willing to give you $1 to finance your next album. Once it's finished, the music is released into the public domain.

If you were a decent act I don't think you'd have too much trouble getting fans to donate. And when you lost your touch you'd be retired.

Not going to read it (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639744)

I did not RTFA, and I will not RTFA. My spidey sense tells me what is in it (and in the book, which I will also not R) - a needlessly long piece of prose which can be summarized as : Get off my virtual lawn. and Gee, everything was so much better when I was young.

Re:Not going to read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640094)

It's Jaron Lanier:

Get off my virtual reality lawn

There, fixed that for you ;-)

Re:Not going to read it (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640120)

Things change. Young people embrace it, old people rooted in the old way bitch and moan about it. Rinse, repeat.

Re:Not going to read it (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640198)

Things change. Young people embrace it, old people rooted in the old way bitch and moan about it. Rinse, repeat.

I'm not so sure that the meme of the young being early adopters and the old being Luddites is uniformly correct. Sure, some of it is familiarity, but there is a mindset which is independent of physical age. There is a willingness to try new things not related to calendar years. My mother has a website, she Twitters, she blogs, and she is pushing 80. My mother in law would not look at a computer and relied on an electric typewriter.

At work, some of the fresh college graduates are happy to write down their lot records on paper and file them in manila folders.

sad excuse to cash in as per usual (1)

K10W (1705114) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639754)

I really don't think anyone really cares what he has to say, I wonder if he believes his own bs after all these years. I have only used the internet since late 80's early 90's and it's change sure everything does but for the better if you ask me. Moaning about how things change in the world I mean come on what do you expect. Problem is a lot of these idiots want the growth and expansion without the rest that comes with that. So you hate twitter or facebook, simple don't use it. I've never even registered an account with those or many other networking style places like them never mind used them since I have no interest yet it really doesn't bother me one bit that maybe others find them useful. I think it's just an excuse to sell a book myself although granted some people do actually believe their opinions are some how more valid and superior to the rest of the human race and think mere mortals would simply love to pay to read what they should clearly be thinking too. End of rant ;)

And the irony is... (-1, Flamebait)

piphil (1007691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639788)

'scanned, rehashed, and misrepresented by crowds of quick and sloppy readers.' ...that the article ends up on Slashdot?

Very appropiate (0, Redundant)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639802)

"scanned, rehashed, and misrepresented by crowds of sloppy readers"... he KNEW that this will be posted on slashdot.

Open Source? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639806)

I don't understand how Open Source fits into this list. Open Source isn't new. It's much older than 10 years.

Re:Open Source? (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639940)

It doesn't, he's simply insulting a variety of things in the hope of getting a rise out of someone.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was all just an attention grab.

Re:Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640184)

He stated "open culture" not "open source". His point is that nothing has been improved upon, not really, other than minor tweaks, bots, automation, etc. That is, nothing has been improved upon to the extent that it is a great work of art|science in an of itself. I can see the Internet dying to a large part myself becoming what he talks about as a dark age. It shows it's head immediately with a single search. No longer do I get a list of links with relevant or semi-relevant information on a subject. It merely a list of who paid the most money to be first or second on the list and a bunch of automated pages filled full of **** such as "buy this domain"... To that extent the history and entire makeup of the Internet is gone. Not because it is gone physically but because there is no longer a link to the page. And it's all because of crap studies like this:

http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/marketing-tips/search-engine-user-study.html

Although it may very well be true, does that make all other pages after the third link irrelevant? Finally, the trouble with all of the users complaining about this article(except 5-8 of them) aren't old enough to understand what the Internet was like back in 1998 or before. I do. Do you want proof? Look at their userid. FYI being in the 1st or 2nd grade 10 years ago doesn't qualify you to comment. First you didn't read Wired back then and second you were to young to remember.

P.S. Open source applications only made up about 1/2 of all code 10 years ago. At the same time the GPL made major revisions allowing for better use going forward. Is open source older? yes. Was it widely used or even accepted? no.

P.P.S. Open source need not be capitalized unless it's at the start of sentence or you work for Microsoft.

We are a gadget (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639886)

we always are. You can say whatever about an individual person, but in big numbers we could be considered gadgets, either in virtual or in real world. Web 2.0 is just our last expression as crowd. Oh, there are exceptions, but we usually call them crazy, unfitting, unadapted, or even terrorists (but probably not genious, once a lot of people think that it becomes imitated and becomes a new kind of gadget)

Re:We are a gadget (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640104)

"but in big numbers we could be considered gadgets"

Crappy battery life (have to be charged three times a day), won't fit in a pocket, crash a lot, requires constant maintenance, no wifi.

why do we care? (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639918)

this guy hasn't been relevant since the early 1990s

its now the early 2010s

2010s!

holy crap... monday morning, january 4th, 20fucking10

a new decade

jesus, only now is it sinking in

Reminds me of Clifford Stoll (4, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639932)

Clifford Stoll [wikipedia.org]

Remember him? And his book Silicon Snake Oil from the mid-90s about the evils of the new Internet.

What does he do now? Makes weird bottles. Wow.

Yesterday my boss was pissed because his new Mac laptop with Snow Leopard wouldn't work with his old Laserjet 1020. A few minutes on Google and I found the solution.

I remember what it was like finding tech info in the 80s. A nightmare. For example, I wanted some tech books on CANDE, WFL, and ALGOL that a Burrough's mainframe that my university used and was told by the publisher that they'll only ship if I proved I was an employee of a firm that owned one.

Keep your romance about the past to yourself. Adapt or die I say.

Clifford Stoll warnings weren't/aren't baseless (2, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640052)

Clifford Stoll is an internet sceptic, not a ludite. His arguments against expensive school IT programms financed by cuts in the teaching staff of public schools have solid points. As do his warnings about the Interweb isolating people rather than bringing them together.

Some of his worries [berkeley.edu] turned out to be unwarranted, others turned out to be quite valid.

I'll take the advice and thoughts over an educated sceptic like Stoll over some permanent yay-sayer anytime.

My 2 cents.

Re:Clifford Stoll warnings weren't/aren't baseless (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640188)

I'll take the advice and thoughts over an educated sceptic like Stoll over some permanent yay-sayer anytime.

(1) I'll first make decisions based on objective studies and controlled experiments.

(2) Absent that, I'll look at what actually works in the market and what people are willing to spend money on.

(3) Only if I can't get either of those, I'll consider the opinions of experts.

For the Internet and related technologies, we have plenty of (1) and (2). Even if Stoll could be considered an "expert", that makes his opinions pretty much irrelevant to me.

Re:Clifford Stoll warnings weren't/aren't baseless (1)

axl917 (1542205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640244)

Some of his worries [berkeley.edu] turned out to be unwarranted, others turned out to be quite valid.

"Information available over the Internet is often stale, incomplete, misleading, unreviewed, or simply wrong. "

Well, he sure nailed it regarding the Wikipdia.

Re:Clifford Stoll warnings weren't/aren't baseless (3, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640350)

I saw Stoll at a book signing in the mid 90s for that book. He said at the time he stopped using email totally, if you want to contact him, use the postal service.

Maybe he's mellowed since then, but he was definitely heading to luddite realm back then.

p.s., I agree that technology is no substitute for effective teaching. I work at one of those places and not too long ago a math teacher was freaking out that the Internet was down so she couldn't get the students into MyMathLab and didn't know what to do. So I replied "How about pick up some chalk?"

Yeah, I got in trouble for that remark... but really, you can't teach math without the Internet? Gimme a break.

sorry Jaron i'm not reading your crap. (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30639956)

and who the fuck names their kid "Jaron" anyway? I bet Jaron is right up there with Bort.

if he is hoping to get some kind of readership by provoking nerd rage he's doing it wrong.

Re:sorry Jaron i'm not reading your crap. (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640236)

and who the fuck names their kid "Jaron" anyway?

A Jewish person, according to t'Intartubes

How many would have read, w/o the web? (3, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640012)

He rants, but one wonders how many human people he would have expected to read his words in a world before the Web, where he wouldn't get free publicity on Slashdot by spouting anti-techno rants.

Disclaimer: I also didn't read. And unless some other poster here convinces me it's worthwhile, I probably won't.

The New Printing Press (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640032)

The Printing press made READING accessible to everyone (eventually), "web2.0" or whatever is making WRITING accessible to everyone, it is a giant leap, but unfortunately leads to a lot of crap published, like the article linked in parent.

Re:The New Printing Press (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640168)

Making it easier to be published is a problem, because it decreases the signal to noise ratio. For every new, insightful, witty, piece of prose you now have 100 new pieces of dross. I didn't break tradition and RTFA, so I can't say which category it falls into. There are two solutions to this. One is to make it harder to publish again. The other is to build better filtering mechanisms to let people find the one in a hundred (or thousand or million) things that they want to read. The first option looks easier, but it's likely to throw the wheat out with the chaff.

Einstein had difficulty getting published. Now he'd find it easy, but so does the Time Cube guy. Personally, I'm willing to put up with a few Time Cubes if it increases the availability of even one Einstein. People who aren't are perfectly at liberty to disconnect.

Re:The New Printing Press (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640344)

No Web "2.0" is making blinky flashy animated to everyone. Writing was available with WEB 0.5Beta. There is NOTHING that Web2.0 does to enable it's all about looks and flashy. I was doing web"2.0" things back in the late 90's with that old "antiquated" tech.

CSS does make it easier to change the look of a page quickly, I do like CSS. but Javascript has gone way overboard. I'm tired of having 20X the weight in JS loading for a page than the HTML,CSS and images combined. It's making the web bloated.

Luddite thinking (0, Offtopic)

roqetman (217708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640054)

Many people succumb to Luddite thinking as they get older; this is just another example of it. Why these people feel the need to write articles/books about their fear, I don't know... oh, wait, it's for the money.

Get off my lawn! (1)

agentultra (1090039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640100)

Well I read the review and it seems that Jaron's just wrote another book full of ignorable generalizations and blow-hard postulating.

It's not his fault. He's just given into the same delusions as every other human being. He thinks he's smarter than you. We all do.

From what I can tell by the review, it's just another book on technology. Like most books on technology, it says a lot of things that don't really mean anything and hold only a tenuous grasp with reality. Sadly, it doesn't fall far from the generic-mainstream-technology-writing-tree. Most books written on the subject tend to be written by authors who think they know it all or know better than every one else. They think they can see the forest for the trees, but most of them fall into the same delusions and end up either rehashing the same points or showing their age.

Everyone wants to be a visionary.

I get the sense that Jaron's book is just this kind of drivel. Though he might have some salient points on Facebook and such, but I might just be seeing the glow after deleting my account. I might give the book a go if I happen across a copy at the library. I just won't expect much.

what has he done? (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640142)

Has Jaron Lanier actually ever produced anything useful? Does he have any significant skills or accomplishments? Why should I listen to him? Popularizing other people's ideas about virtual reality and a bit of so-so "classical" music doesn't really convince me.

It's all good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640166)

Look, if not for the web crawlers, nobody would be reading my blog.

These posts are a good example (5, Insightful)

beegeegee (1336603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640176)

The article is a Slate review of a collection (book) of writings by Lanier. The review concludes in a non-sympathetic view of Lanier's thinking. In other words, if anyone on /. had bothered reading the article, their (by comparison) lame posts would not have been neccessary. Ironically, this is exactly the point Lanier is making. No one is reading the real words, no one is making real friends; it is all an artificial world constructed for advertising/marketing. Way to go slashdotters.

Resistance is futile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30640228)

You will be assimilated.

Back in my day... (1, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640292)

Having read the article, not the book, it looks like a classic "Good Old Days" rant. Yes, the internet is not what it was in the early 90s when this guy was at his peak. Things change, and as time passes, things change faster. So it is now possible for one person to go from the leading edge to the trailing edge by early middle age - which this guy seems to have done.

OK, most web pages are read only by the author's friends and Google. But then web pages follow Sturgeon's Law (90% or everything is crap) in overdrive. Much of the web is crap. It is now, and it was then. Back then it was much smaller, and we weeded out the crap for ourselves; now we have Google to assist. The web is much bigger - but who is to be the self appointed censor to weed it down to its "right size" filled with only "the good stuff"? And you can ignore Web 2.0 if you want to - just disable javascript in your browser. But actually, quite a lot of that stuff is good

You can be successful (0, Troll)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30640390)

That dude is just mad because his idea flopped and more simple ideas, like social networking, worked.

Hey, don't get mad at me that nobody wanted your $2000 vr goggles and would rather just sign in to facebook.

Besides, whether you like the artist or not, Asher Roth is a rapper that had his starts on facebook and now is an incredibly successful rapper (last I heard he had a couple music videos on MTV and was doing just fine).

Places like facebook are a breeding ground for people to get noticed, as with the Asher Roth example.

Not everybody can be famous and no, I am still not buying your stupid, expensive vr goggles.
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