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15 February 2010 @ 03:58 pm
Fascinating book ...  
I really like the sound of the book discussed in this article, has anyone read it?

vashtan , I think you in particular would like it. An excerpt:

Lanier, who is a scholar-in residence at the University of California and a partner architect with Microsoft, also noticed a disturbing tendency among the champions of the internet's "open culture" to humiliate and attack those who had lost out in the online revolution - the musicians, artists, journalists and others.

These and a dozen other observations led Lanier to conclude that something had gone terribly wrong: that we had reached a point where the network was being exalted as far more important than any individual. It is a thesis he explores in his book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.

Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on February 15th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
I browsed it very quickly (Trying to rush some editing. AHHHHH!!!). Look interesting indeed! I may try to find a copy in my school library.

My quick question is: did he write a whole thesis to explain how he ended up being a troll???? :DDDDDDDDDDD

Oops. My bitch is showing. *pulls down skirt and wiggles a bit*

*Huggles you like a sweet, warm pie*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
More like how he and several million of his closest mates did ;-)

*Stands back and ogles*
*Leans into huggles*
*Mmmmmm, pie ...*
romaine24romaine24 on February 15th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Haven't read this book but have read others and heard him talk. I have a background in Virtual Reality and that is where he had a big impact in the 90s.

I would also find it interesting to read as I see current technology as a great equalizer. Very little is getting hidden anymore and many who didn't have a voice before do now.

So it might go on my list of To Get. Thanks for sharing.

Edited at 2010-02-15 05:31 am (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2010 08:01 am (UTC)
Yes, I think I need to buy it! To me, the information revolution has some excellent points in creating communities, and, as you say, providing mass market voices to people who may not have had access to a broad audience in the past.

It has done very good things with encouraging creativity and giving prominence to people like Iranian dissidents, which makes me wish it had been an option for the IRA and ANC in the 70s and 80s as it could have stopped bloodshed there.

There are, however, very dark sides to it, too. A goodly portion of these come out of large corporations seeking to exploit new technologies. The massive layoffs and loss of expertise in journalism and publishing are just two of the great examples here.

Sure more people can produce the news now, but the news is infinitely more banal and inaccurate than it was 20 years ago in most publications, whether print or online. While there is a role for 'citizen journalists', there is only so much one can do: they are the first aid of news, but some stories will need a surgeon, which requires training and experience.

This is not just annoying to me as a journalist: the loss of fact in favour of opinion is dangerous and deadly, as any number of events show. Science and medical journalism is an area of particular concern, already children have died of measles and diphtheria thanks to scares based on Andrew Wakefield's proven lies, which received their greatest coverage on the internet.

The other major dark side, to my mind, comes out of what Lanier mentions in that quote. As someone whose whole way of making a living comes out of creative work, I find it incredibly frustrating to see the wholesale disregard for copyright that is increasingly pervasive these days.

Unlike pharmacology, the arts are not holding their works to ransom for the highest payers only. Rates of pay are already low, as are costs to the audience, and people in my sector often find it hard to make a living, or work in related industries to pay the bills and do less of their actual work (I'm a good case in point of the latter).

I'm not talking about the virtual equivalent of lending a CD, where people burn a few tracks for their friends who may later buy the album themselves. I'm talking about the uploading of whole creative works that displaces sales (the scanning and uploading of print-only novels is particularly egregious here, use the bloody library! Authors receive payment from libraries!)

And no, I don't tend to download things myself. I have watched a TV show I've missed on a sharing site on a small handful of occasions, and felt so guilty that I have gone out and bought the DVDs later. Yes publishers do need better distribution models, but stealing their work is not likely to bring them about quickly because it cuts the profits that allow them to do so.

I get really cranky with people who say that writers and journalists just haven't moved with the new models: the product we are producing has not changed, nor has the demand for it. So why should we be expected to not be paid for it now?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
Ooh, just realised I ranted like a ranty thing. Obviously, this was in the spirit of you and I sitting down over a beer and sharing tales of oppressive bastardry while I waved my hands a lot, not in any sense of 'Rom, you be oppressing!'
romaine24: writingrunawaywordsromaine24 on February 15th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)
*pays for the first round*

It's funny I just read a book for a book club sponsored by my company. It's done over telecon and webex. O.O The book is titled: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink. It came out a few years ago.

Anyway, one of the main premises is that creativity is what will end up being valued the most, including financially. The arts including music, drawing, storytelling, design, etc... is what companies will need to succeed. It's an interesting and thought provoking book. It's written in layman's terms and is especially written for right brain folks. LOL I mainly work with engineers, so it was all kind of fun.

It's going to be rocky until things get figured out in the publishing world and news world. Some of it is quite welcomed but giving a voice and credentials as a spokesperson based on popularity is quite scary.

I never thought that writers or journalists haven't moved with the new model, it seems more like the owners and management fought the change instead of embracing what was coming and spending the time and energy to figure out how to make it work for their customers, their employees, and their business as a whole.

Pureblood Princessraitala on February 15th, 2010 09:57 am (UTC)
Strange coincidence! I've been watching this four-part BBC documentary on the internet by Dr Aleks Krotoski the last few weeks. It's been pretty good, charting its development and looking at the two sides of the coin. The hippy, utopian/libertarian ideals behind it being all free and unregulated and the upsides and downsides to how things have worked out in practice - political expression, commercial domination etc.

I can remember talking with my dad when we first got connected to the internet back in 1996 or something. I was asking what information was on there and he was trying to explain that it was all content put up by anyone who wanted to. I remember just not being able to comprehend at that point how content generated by just people could have any value whatsoever ;)

Things are certainly pretty choppy now. If people decided they don't want/aren't prepared to pay people who professionally dedicate their lives to writing, to music or to art we will all be the poorer. I love fanfic and fanart and certainly some professionally produced stuff is pretty mediocre, but the best novelists, artists, journalists are streets ahead of amateurs and I don't want to loose that.
Vashtanvashtan on February 15th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
Wow, you live in my head. *stares*

It also appears to deal with the "virtual mob culture" as I like to call it, which appears to pertain to the pirates. Where "sharing" is a positive value and the artist and his/her needs are sacrificed for the "positive feelings" of the masses.

(Which then feeds into the victim complex of some artists).

I'll go grab it, hoping it won't make me (even more) angry.