Famous Quotes & Sayings

Jaron Lanier Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Jaron Lanier.

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Famous Quotes By Jaron Lanier

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Human beings either function as individuals or as members of a pack. There's a switch inside us, deep in our spirit, that you can turn one way or the other. It's almost always the case that our worst behaviour comes out when we're switched to the mob setting. The problem with a lot of software designs is that they switch us to that setting. — Jaron Lanier

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If anything, there's a reverse Moore's Law observable in software: As processors become faster and memory becomes cheaper, software becomes correspondingly slower and more bloated, using up all available resources. — Jaron Lanier

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Style used to be an interaction between the human soul and tools that were limiting. In the digital era, it will have to come from the soul alone. — Jaron Lanier

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We imagine "pure" cybernetic systems, but we can prove only that we know how to build fairly dysfunctional ones. We kid ourselves when we think we understand something, even a computer, merely because we can model or digitize it. — Jaron Lanier

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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. — Jaron Lanier

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Trying to create an overly flattened society inevitably and unintentionally creates new centers of power. A revolution might dethrone the old rich, but only at the expense of empaneling an unchallenged communist party, along with a politburo and legions of clever schemers and ass kissers who turn into a new privileged class. The right way to deal with concentrations of power is not to try to vaporize them, but to balance them. — Jaron Lanier

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The problem I have with socialist utopias is there's some kind of committees trying to soften outcomes for people. I think that imposes models of outcomes for other people's lives. So in a spiritual sense there's some bit of libertarian in me. But the critical thing for me is moderation. And if you let that go far you do end up with a winner-take-all society that ultimately crushes everybody even worse. — Jaron Lanier

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The cloud is driven by statistics, and even in the worst individual cases of personal ignorance, dullness, idleness, or irrelevance, every person is constantly feeding data into the cloud these days. The value of such information could be treated as genuine, but it is not. Instead, the blindness of our standards of accounting to all that value is gradually breaking capitalism. — Jaron Lanier

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I'd much rather see a world where, when you make some quirky comment on a blog or news story or you upload a video clip, instead of just a moment of fame for your pseudonym, you'll get 50 bucks. The first time that happens, you'll realise that you're a full-class citizen. You have the potential to make money from the system. — Jaron Lanier

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When we ask people to live their lives through our models, we are potentially reducing life itself. How can we ever know what we might be losing? — Jaron Lanier

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Why do people deserve a penny when they update their Facebook status? Because they'll spend some of it on you. — Jaron Lanier

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My dad has sometimes felt that I grew up a little lacking in sufficient eccentricity - in the sense that I'm willing to live as an adult in a house with walls that are parallel to each other, that sort of thing. — Jaron Lanier

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If you listen first, and write later, then what 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? — Jaron Lanier

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A market economy cannot thrive absent the well-being of average people, even in a gilded age. — Jaron Lanier

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People have to be able to make money off their brains and their hearts. Or else we're all going to starve, and it's the machines that'll get good. — Jaron Lanier

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Money forgets ... Money allows blood enemies to collaborate; when money changes hands we forget for at least a moment the history of conflict and the potential for revenge. — Jaron Lanier

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Communication is now often experienced as a superhuman phenomenon that towers above individuals. A new generation has come of age with a reduced expectation of what a person can be, and of who each person might become. — Jaron Lanier

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Evolution has never found a way to be any speed but very slow. — Jaron Lanier

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What did you think would happen? We in Silicon Valley undermined copyright to make commerce become more about services instead of content: more about our code instead of their files. — Jaron Lanier

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Our times demand rejection of seven word bios. — Jaron Lanier

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In order to make tech into something that empowers people, people have to be willing to act as if we can handle being powerful. — Jaron Lanier

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Once you can understand something in a way that you can shove it into a computer, you have cracked its code, transcended any particularity it might have at a given time. It was as if we had become the gods of vision and had effectively created all possible images, for they would merely be reshufflings of the bits in the computers we had before us, completely under our control. — Jaron Lanier

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Google's thing is not advertising because it's not a romanticizing operation. It doesn't involve expression. It's a link. What they're doing is selling access. — Jaron Lanier

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Here is yet another statement of the core idea of this book, that data concerning people is best thought of as people in disguise, and they're usually up to something. — Jaron Lanier

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Not only have consumers prioritized flash and laziness over empowerment, but we have also acquiesced to being spied on all the time. — Jaron Lanier

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I mean, you can't have advertising be the only official business of the information economy if the information economy is going to take over. — Jaron Lanier

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To state it as clearly as I can: I am part of what I criticize. I benefit from time to time by actively participating in the schemes I would like to see ended; it happens as a side effect of doing the things I love to do. However, I don't want to become an academic or remote observer of tech events. My choice is to be engaged even if that means I am tainted. I live with contradictions, in accordance with the human condition, but do my best not to forget what absurdities are involved. What I can offer is being open about what I think. — Jaron Lanier

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Digital technologies are setting down the new grooves of how people live, how we do business, how we do everything
and they're doing it according to the expectations of foolish utopian scenarios. We want free online experiences so badly that we are happy to not be paid for information that comes from us now or ever. That sensibility also implies that the more dominant information becomes in our economy, the less most of us will be worth. — Jaron Lanier

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Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one's anus to one's mouth. — Jaron Lanier

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We're losing track of the vastness of the potential for computer science. We really have to revive the beautiful intellectual joy of it, as opposed to the business potential. — Jaron Lanier

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A real friendship ought to introduce each person to unexpected weirdness in the other. — Jaron Lanier

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When developers of digital technologies design a program that requires you to interact with a computer as if it were a person, they ask you to accept in some corner of your brain that you might also be conceived of as a program. — Jaron Lanier

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Pop culture has entered into a nostalgic malaise. Online culture is dominated by trivial mashups of the culture that existed before the onset of mashups, and by fandom responding to the dwindling outposts of centralized mass media. It is a culture of reaction without action. — Jaron Lanier

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What these critics forget is that printing presses in themselves provide no guarantee of an enlightened outcome. People, not machines, made the Renaissance. The printing that takes place in North Korea today, for instance, is nothing more than propaganda for a personality cult. What is important about printing presses is not the mechanism, but the authors. — Jaron Lanier

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At the turn of the [21st] century it was really Sergey Brin at Google who just had the thought of, well, if we give away all the information services, but we make money from advertising, we can make information free and still have capitalism. But the problem with that is it reneges on the social contract where people still participate in the formal economy. And it's a kind of capitalism that's totally self-defeating because it's so narrow. It's a winner-take-all capitalism that's not sustaining. — Jaron Lanier

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I'm hoping the reader can see that artificial intelligence is better understood as a belief system than as a technology. — Jaron Lanier

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The attribution of intelligence to machines, crowds of fragments, or other nerd deities obscures more than it illuminates. When people are told that a computer is intelligent, they become prone to changing themselves in order to make the computer appear to work better, instead of demanding that the computer be changed to become more useful. — Jaron Lanier

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I'm an advocate of human nature. — Jaron Lanier

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Mobs and dictators were made for each other, and when mobs appear, dictators will soon flourish. — Jaron Lanier

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It's as if you kneel to plant the seed of a tree and it grows so fast that it swallows your whole town before you can even rise to your feet. — Jaron Lanier

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One might ask why big business data is still so often used on faith, even after it has failed spectacularly. The answer is of course that big business data happens to facilitate superquick and vast near-term accumulations of wealth and influence. — Jaron Lanier

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We must learn to see the full picture, and not just the treats before our eyes. Our trendy gadgets, such as smartphones and tablets, have given us new access to the world. We regularly communicate with people we would never even have been aware of before the networked age. We can find information about almost anything at any time. But we have learned how much our gadgets and out idealistically motivated digital networks are being used to spy on us by ultrapowerful, remote organizations. We are being dissected more than we dissect. — Jaron Lanier

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I think most of the dramatic new ideas come from little companies that then grow big. — Jaron Lanier

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Wal-Mart impoverished its own customer base. Google is facing exactly the same issue long-term, although not yet. — Jaron Lanier

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Enduring at the time played in his formulation of the test. — Jaron Lanier

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You have to be somebody before you can share yourself. — Jaron Lanier

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The mass culture of childhood right now is astonishingly technical. Little kids know their Unix path punctuation so they can get around the Web, and they know their HTML and stuff. It's pretty shocking to me. — Jaron Lanier

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What does it mean to not be alone? I've approached that question through music, technology, writing and other means. — Jaron Lanier

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The decision reduction service would use its particular style and competence to create bundles of decisions you could accept or reject en masse. — Jaron Lanier

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There will always be humans, lots of them, who provide the data that makes the networked realization of any technology better and cheaper. — Jaron Lanier

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I'm not in any sense anti-Facebook. — Jaron Lanier

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Anonymous blog comments, vapid video pranks and lightweight mash-ups may seem trivial and harmless, but as a whole, this widespread practice of fragmentary, impersonal communication has demeaned personal interaction. — Jaron Lanier

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My choice is to be engaged even if that means I am tainted. I live with contradictions, in accordance with the human condition, but do my best not to forget what absurdities are involved. — Jaron Lanier

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A fashionable idea in technical circles is that quantity not only turns into quality at some extreme of scale, but also does so according to principles we already understand. Some of my colleagues think a million, or perhaps a billion, fragmentary insults will eventually yield wisdom that surpasses that of any well-thought-out essay, so long as sophisticated secret statistical algorithms recombine the fragments. I disagree. A trope from the early days of computer science comes to mind: garbage in, garbage out. — Jaron Lanier

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Advertising is the edge of what people know how to do and of human experience and it explains the latest ways progress has changed us to ourselves. — Jaron Lanier

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When machines get incredibly cheap to run, people seem correspondingly expensive. — Jaron Lanier

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Advertisers are not thinking radically enough - they look for technology to lead instead of trying the neuroscience approach and thinking about what parts of the brain haven't been activated before. These new experiences bring new capabilities to the brain. — Jaron Lanier

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Services like Google and Facebook only exist because of the social acceptance of a mass amount of distributed volunteer labor from tons and tons of people. — Jaron Lanier

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Information doesn't deserve to be free. It is an abstract tool; a useful
fantasy, a nothing. It is nonexistent until and unless a person experiences
it in a useful way. — Jaron Lanier

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An intelligent person feels guilty for downloading music without paying the musician, but they use this free-open-culture ideology to cover it. — Jaron Lanier

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Back in the 1980s, when the internet was only available to a small number of pioneers, I was often confronted by people who feared that the strange technologies I was working on, like virtual reality, might unleash the demons of human nature. For instance, would people become addicted to virtual reality as if it were a drug? Would they become trapped in it, unable to escape back to the physical world where the rest of us live? Some of the questions were silly, and others were prescient. — Jaron Lanier

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Governments oppress people, but so do mobs. You need to avoid both to make progress. — Jaron Lanier

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Here's a current example of the challenge we face. At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only thirteen people. Where did all those jobs disappear to? And what happened to the wealth that those middle-class jobs created? This book is built to answer questions like these, which will only become more common as digital networking hollows out every industry, from media to medicine to manufacturing. — Jaron Lanier

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I feel drawn to experiment with ways that technology can interact with notions of intimacy, because so much of technology is done in a way that's very cold and has such an opposite effect. — Jaron Lanier

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You don't need to remind me how easy it is to slough off and become lazy. Oh, I know how sweet the temptation is.
So modernity has brought with it an endless internal mental conflict between stern, rather parental inner voices and lazy childish ones. Unfortunately, these two voices, which have functioned as opposites, checking each other for centuries, have been confounded into idiotic agreement and collusion with the appearance of digital network technology. — Jaron Lanier

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What if only humans are real, and information is not? — Jaron Lanier

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At the end of the day, even the magic of machine translation is like Facebook, a way of taking free contributions from people and regurgitating them as bait for advertisers or others who hope to take advantage of being close to a top server. — Jaron Lanier

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Once a critical mass of conversation is on Facebook, then it's hard to get conversation going elsewhere. What might have started out as a choice is no longer a choice after a network effect causes a phase change. — Jaron Lanier

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We already knew that kids learned computer technology more easily than adults, It is as if children were waiting all these centuries for someone to invent their native language. — Jaron Lanier

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Books are really, really hard to write. They represent a kind of a summit of grappling with what one really has to say — Jaron Lanier

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We should treat computers as fancy telephones, whose purpose is to connect people ... As long as we remember that we ourselves are the source of our value, our creativity, our sense of reality, then all of our work with computers will be worthwhile and beautiful. — Jaron Lanier

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The beauty of HTML was that one-way linking made it very simple to spread because you could put something up and take no responsibility whatsoever. And that creates a society in which people display no responsibility whatsoever. That's the problem. — Jaron Lanier

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I think complexity is mostly sort of crummy stuff that is there because it's too expensive to change the interface. — Jaron Lanier

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We have repeatedly demonstrated our species's bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good. — Jaron Lanier

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The basic problem is that web 2.0 tools are not supportive of democracy by design. They are tools designed to gather spy-agency-like data in a seductive way, first and foremost, but as a side effect they tend to provide software support for mob-like phenomena. — Jaron Lanier

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Wouldn't it be easier just to treat the information space as a public resource and tax or charge companies somehow for the benefit of using it? — Jaron Lanier

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People try to treat technology as an object, and it can't be. It can only be a channel. — Jaron Lanier

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Don't worry: It's not excessively expensive or a threat to the efficiency of the Internet to keep track of where information came from. It will actually make the Internet faster and more efficient. — Jaron Lanier

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Right now it might seem draconian to charge for access to information we have come to expect for free, but it would feel very different if you knew what other people were also paying you at the same time for information service you have fractionally contributed to in the course of your life. — Jaron Lanier

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Writing and thinking is not economically sustainable. — Jaron Lanier

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If you're old enough to have a job and to have a life, you use Facebook exactly as advertised, you look up old friends. — Jaron Lanier

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The only hope for social networking sites from a business point of view is for a magic formula to appear in which some method of violating privacy and dignity becomes acceptable. — Jaron Lanier

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After my mother's death, I had such difficulty relating to people. — Jaron Lanier

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My parents were kind of like me in that they had tons and tons of weird, amazing stuff. — Jaron Lanier

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A Nelsonian solution provides a simple, predictable way to share without limit or hassle over digital networks, and yet doesn't destroy middle classes in the long term. — Jaron Lanier

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In a more incremental world, attributions and rewards will still be contested, no doubt, but particular outcomes will no longer make or break lives. — Jaron Lanier

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Facebook says, 'Privacy is theft,' because they're selling your lack of privacy to the advertisers who might show up one day. — Jaron Lanier

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The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people. — Jaron Lanier

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As information technology becomes millions of times more powerful, any particular use of it becomes correspondingly cheaper. Thus, it has become commonplace to expect online services (not just news, but 21st century treats like search or social networking) to be given for free, or rather, in exchange for acquiescence to being spied on. — Jaron Lanier

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About: Don't post anonymously unless you really might be in danger. — Jaron Lanier

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As the familiar quote usually attributed to Supreme Court justice Louis D. Brandeis goes, We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. — Jaron Lanier

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An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than in truth and beauty — Jaron Lanier

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That you will become entrapped in someone else's recent careless thoughts. — Jaron Lanier

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If we allow our self-congratulatory adoration of technology to distract us from our own contact with each other, then somehow the original agenda has been lost. — Jaron Lanier

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There is nothing more gray, stultifying, or dreary than life lived inside the confines of a theory. — Jaron Lanier

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On the ground rules of life are changed, you no longer have the ability to understand what you might have forgotten from a previous incarnation. No adult really knows what was lost in the process of growing up, because the adult brain cannot quite realize the mentality in which childhood memories are fully meaningful. With that level of change comes a kind of partial death. — Jaron Lanier

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Siren Servers are narcissists; blind to where value comes from, including the web of global interdependence that is at the core of their own value. — Jaron Lanier

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I do real paintings, you know. I'm a little messy in the studio, so I'm a bit of a danger. But I just adore it. — Jaron Lanier

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Every power-seeking entity in the world, whether it's a government, a business, or an informal group, has gotten wise to the idea that if you can assemble information about other people, that information makes you powerful. — Jaron Lanier

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This digital revolutionary still believes in most of the lovely deep ideals that energized our work so many years ago. At the core was a sweet faith in human nature. If we empowered individuals, we believed, more good than harm would result.
The way the internet has gone sour since then is truly perverse. The central faith of the web's early design has been superseded by a different faith in the centrality of imaginary entities epitomized by the idea that the internet as a whole is coming alive and turning into a superhuman creature.
The designs guided by this new, perverse kind of faith put people back in the shadows. The fad for anonymity has undone the great opening-of-everyone's-windows of the 1990s. While that reversal has empowered sadists to a degree, the worst effect is a degradation of ordinary people. — Jaron Lanier