Comment: Of course I read the whole thing

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Michael Nystrom's picture

Of course I read the whole thing

Of your report, that is. And it made me go to my bookshelf, and pull out my physical copy. The Kindle is good for some kinds of books. When I really like a book, I usually want to have a physical copy. The physical copy gives one an orientation not possible with an electronic version.

I began reading his next book, Who Owns the Future in Taiwan. (The nice part about Kindle is you can buy a copy even when you're 10,000 miles from a bookstore that might have a copy of the book you want to read!) That is a great book as well. Deep thoughts, and hard concepts. But then again, without the physical copy laying around to remind you to finish reading it, the book kind of disappeared from my consciousness. Out of sight / out of mind.

My copy of this book is marked up all over. To your point about those people of your generation who can't put down their phones, I feel the same way as Lanier (p. 70):

I am always struck by the endless stress [young people] put themselves through. They must manage their online reputations constantly, avoiding the ever-roaming evil eye of the hive mind, which can turn on the individual at any momement. A "Facebook generation" young person who suddenly becomes humiliated online has no way out, for there is only one hive.

I would prefer not to judge the experiences or motivations of other people, but surely this new strain of gadget fetishism is driven more by fear than love.

But it is what he said on p. 72 that allowed me to recognize something about myself, when he's talking about the oud forum that he likes to frequent.

When I told Kevin Kelly about this magical confluence of obsessive people, he immediately asked if there was a particular magical person who tended the oud forum. The places that work online always turn out to be the beloved projects of individuals, not the automated aggregations of the cloud...

I think Lanier would like old Kurzweil to read his book also. This is a particularly pointed jab at you-know-who (p.25):

The coming Singularity is a popular belief in the society of technologists. Singularity books are as common in a computer science department as Rapture images are in an evangelical bookstore.


Anyway, I'm glad you liked the book, kiddo. I think it served its purpose as the antidote to Kurzweil.

Nice to know there are still humans in the world - at least three of us. You, me and Jaron Lanier.

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.