Comment: "The words in this book are writen for ppl, not computers"

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jrd3820's picture

"The words in this book are writen for ppl, not computers"

You don’t have to read all of this, this is more for my own purpose of getting these thoughts out. My final thesis; Ray Kurzweil should read this book.

"The words will be minced into atomized search-engine keywords within industrial cloud computing facilities located in remote, often secret locations around the world. They will be copied millions of times by algorithms designed to send an advertisement to some person somewhere who happens to resonate with some fragment of what I say. They will be scanned, rehashed, and misrepresented by crowds of quick and sloppy readers into wikis and automatically aggregated wireless text message streams. Reactions will repeatedly degenerate into mindless chains of anonymous insults and inarticulate controversies.

His list of ways to make the internet more personal included not posting anonymously unless you might be in danger. That is interesting to me. I see where he is going with that. If you post with your name, Michael Nystrom, you are held to that and those words and so they really do represent you. It's harder to be an ass for the sake of being an ass, or to post ridiculous stuff just to get a rise out of people who are way too serious. But then, the internet is filled with shady people so there is a need to keep yourself somewhat anonymous in some cases yes?

He also said to post a video sometimes that took you a 100 times longer to create than to view. I like that. Quality over quantity. And to create something that says something about you that doesn't fit the normal social media design. Audio Selfies.

One of the things he discussed that I haven't been paying attention to ( of the few things he discussed that I haven't been paying attention to...and why would I when some guy from the internet is paying attention to it and posting it here for me?)
is the desire to turn all the world's books into one singular (singularity, surprisingly my arch nemesis Kurzweil isn't behind this one) book. This could encourage mashups of passages and "fragments that obscure the context and authorship of each fragment."

Again, this is one of those things that I don't understand why people are even working towards this. Even Lanier didn't have much to say to explain that to me.

Clearly he talks about music a lot. He says; “If you are having a great time with music in the online world as it is; don’t listen to me.” I listened anyways, but to me that is one of the best aspects of the internet. He talked about Ani DiFranco and how she sold CDs out of the back of her car and went it on her own. She started Righteous Babe record label and made millions in one of the most grass roots attempts at selling music in decades. My friend Andy and I were talking about that a while ago and saying if Ani had had access to sites like Soundcloud, Reverb, or Bandcamp she would have been a pioneer in those areas. Doesn’t matter she took the record companies and labels by storm anyways and again she did it by selling CDs out of the trunk of her car. But sites like that enable musicians to be heard by people who would never otherwise hear them as they would never be picked up by a major label, it also enables them to receive money for their art from people who would never have the ability to pay for it otherwise. Even with all the access to free music online, I still pay for about 90% of my music (the jam session broke me in that respect…) .

He also talks about bringing physical objects back into the music industry. He didn’t say CDs, but he said it is important to bring physical objects back to make it more romantic. It’s like the play list thing. It’s not fun to just type up a play list of songs people might like and email that person the list. First of all there is the chance they aren’t going to find all the songs and download them, but the CD gives them a physical gift of music. Some of my friends tease me about still burning CDs. But if I didn’t do that a lot of people would be out Christmas and birthday presents as those are one of my favorite gifts to give.

The Friend Thing. This is such a problem for people my age. The idea that a friendship consists of updating facebook/twitter/fill in social media blank statuses and liking or commenting on those statuses. It cheapens friendships. It also dehumanizes. People use other people’s social media pages as a measuring stick of what they think their life should look like, so they try to create a life for the internet world that looks like something it is not. What they seem to forget is the other person is only uploading their best moments and it is pointless to try live up to that.

There is also the lack of communication even in the real world due to social media. People are attached to their phones constantly reading the newest updates on social media about other people or constantly updating their own page. I have a hard time hanging out with people in my general age range because I can’t for the life of me understand why people can’t go 2 or 3 hours without getting out their phones and staring at them for a few minutes every half hour or so. I understand the appeal of social media, I don’t understand the addiction. It is an addiction. If I am going out to dinner with you and you spend half the time on your phone on the internet….why even go out at all? Just stay at home and dwell on the internet. It is so boring to me….

He also says, “a real friendship ought to introduce each person to unexpected weirdness in the other.” That doesn't happen on the internet. I mean... don't get me wrong, people are definitely weird on the internet, it's just that even then it is usually a controlled weird and a produced weird. Sometimes it is almost even a competition of irony. Not everyone though... some people are just awkward online no matter what, but like I said, you miss some of the weirdness of people by simply conversing online.

The thing is, Lanier brings all these issues up and has all sorts of ideas on how to make the internet more human, except he admits that it is up to the people who use it. The people in my age group really for the most part don’t seem to see these problems and if they do notice them, they don’t see these issues as problems, probably because it is so normal to them.

One of the other things he talks about is the degradation of language. Lol, btw, brb, l8r,…. Darwin speculated that music/song might have preceded language. And the other guys from University of Edinburgh studying birds think that an explosion of variety in song was an important milestone in human evolution. The idea is that the further humans evolved the more experimentation options they had so the need for more words and language arose, but variety doesn’t always have to increase, sometimes it can decrease such as with slang like LOL (I hate it when people actually say the letters l.o.l. in the real world, it’s one thing to type it, but it is unnecessary in the real world in verbal conversations). He thinks that the same thing is happening in song because of the tools people have to use. It is creating a hive mind, if everyone is using the same editing programs there is only so much variation of sound that can come around. That was interesting to me because I always thought that the more access people had to all kinds of music and editing programs the more the variety. I mean I posted a Janis Joplin song that was mashed up with Beck in the jam session the other day. What a meeting of sounds. And then Parov Stellar is big band meets dubstep meets r&b almost…

Anyways the language thing becomes really interesting when he applies it to an infinite cloud/brains.

If the computing clouds become effectively infinite there would be a hypothetical danger that all possible interpolations of all possible words-novels, songs, and facial expressions- will cohabit a Borges-like infinite Wikipedia in the ether. Should that come about all words would become meaningless and all meaningful expression would become impossible.

Isn’t that horrible?!?!?!?!? Luckily, Lanier says that cloud will never become infinite so I suppose it’s not worth worrying that much over (I hope Kurzweil knows that though…Kurzweil really should read this book).

The online middle class he talks about in the end in the interview is interesting. Basically, if people want it, they have the power to and they should create it by supporting online ventures, there is more to it than that, but since my fingers are bleeding and I’m really only typing this for my own purposes at this point, I’m going to end it there.

Thanks for the physical copy, it might surprise you to know that I don’t enjoy using a kindle. Plus you can embellish a physical copy.

My final thesis. Ray Kurzweil should read this book.