Jaron Lanier on the Human Side of Technology


“I’m disappointed with the way the Internet has gone in the past ten years.  . . . I’ve always felt that the human-centered approach to computer science leads to more interesting, more exotic, more wild, and more heroic adventures than the machine-supremacy approach, where information is the highest goal.

“At the South by Southwest Interactive conference, in Austin, in March of 2010, Lanier gave a talk, before which he asked his audience not to blog, text, or tweet while he was speaking.  He later wrote that his message to the crowd had been:  “If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you’ll be in what you say.  This is what makes you exist.  If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?”‘

— From a profile of Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget and one of the pioneers of virtual reality technology, in Jennifer Kahn, “The Visionary,” The New Yorker, July 11 & 18, 2011, pp.46-53.

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