Who Owns the Future?, by Jaron Lanier
Who owns the future?
This book by the philosopher and computer scientist Jaron Lanier could be characterised as his Summa Technologiae. It is probably not as easy a read as Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, opaque and rambling as Lanier meditates on all things web-based and their influence on humanity. His publisher says Lanier is advocating “a radical system that truly rewards endeavour . . . and ultimately preserves human dignity”. It is arguable whether readers will find their endeavours rewarded in reading subchapters such as “Interpersonal economic symmetry through theatrics” and “Creepiness thrives on the quest for utopia”, or having to cogitate on lines such as “Don’t worry exclusively about the past forms of power; worry also about the future forms.” Lanier’s software did not run on this reviewer’s operating system.