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Jaron Lanier Asks Who Owns the Future?

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality and one of the most influential thinkers of our time, examines the effects network technologies have had on our economy. In his new book Who Owns the Future? he asserts that the rise of digital networks led our economy into recession and decimated the middle class. He looks at why and charts the path toward a new information economy that will stabilize the middle class and allow it to grow.

Guests:

Jaron Lanier

Comments [14]

Donald J. Sepanek from Bayonne, NJ

Since Eve bit the apple?

Jul. 03 2013 03:39 PM
Susan

Gene, you wrote: "I see most economists today as hard-trained in a free-market, anti-human dogma, a dogma spearheaded by Univ. of Chicago ideologues and endorsed by Nobel Prizes."

Really? I guess Keynesians Krugman, Bernanke and the Federal government itself didn't get your memo. BTW, where is this "free" market you keep talking about? It certainly isn't the United States of heavily government regulated and government licensing America.

If you think it is, then I'd like to know what your definition of "free" is?

BTW, Milton Friedman and the Chicago School are NOT 100% free market, unfortunately, That honor goes to the Austrian School of economics.

And if you really believe this crony capitalist nonsense: "free-market, anti-human dogma," then that quote I posted earlier refers to you:

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

Jul. 03 2013 02:56 PM
jessie henshaw from Way uptown

Leonard, & Laneer too,
One of the effects of computers as a technology that will have to be undone is how we programmed them.

Instead of programming our world "business intelligence" system to respect humanity and the earth, like the "prime directive" would have us do, we programmed them to follow "the bottom line", a metric that represents the maximum rate of accelerating our use of natural resources.

It was our theory, so we made it mathematical, and thought that would be "good", before we realized it would really undo itself in a most unpleasant way unless we found someone who had figured out the natural biomimicry of how to do it to benefit us instead.

Jul. 03 2013 01:56 PM
Ben from Brooklyn

I think the best radio comedy on the dial is Jaron Lanier saying that maybe he's guilty of being good at ideas yet not good at hyping himself.

Jaron? Are you stoned?

Jaron's a smart guy, worth a listen. But if there is anyone who is hyped beyond his actual contributions, it is Jaron.

"Widely considered to be the father of virtual reality...." blah blah blah.

Jul. 03 2013 01:56 PM
Ed from Larchmont

One remembers what the popes have said about the economy, most recently Pope Benedict - the end of the economy has to be man (not technology, not profit, not systems).

Jul. 03 2013 01:44 PM

"Most "economists" today are Keynesians"

Huh?? Where do you get that? 1952? I see most economists today as hard-trained in a free-market, anti-human dogma, a dogma spearheaded by Univ. of Chicago ideologues and endorsed by Nobel Prizes. Additionally, suspiciously, these economists are provided the tools, often through MNCs and their minions, to inject their world-view into the popular zeitgeist.

Jul. 03 2013 01:07 PM
Susan

BTW, Gene, I have no idea what you mean when you say: "For a decade or more, Nobel Prizes in Economics were given to economists who often pointedly ignored any relation whatsoever between economics and emotions (which makes it easier to foment free-market theories)."

Which economists are you referring to? What do you mean by the relation between economics and emotions and how that makes it easier to foment free-market theories. And which free-market theories are you referring to?

Jul. 03 2013 12:58 PM
Susan

Gene—Your observation does not contradict that statement. Most "economists" today are Keynesians, i.e., they are not taught real economics.

Here's an alternative to Keynesian pseudo-economics:

Principles of Economics by Carl Menger
http://mises.org/books/mengerprinciples.pdf

Human Action by Ludwig Von Mises
http://mises.org/books/humanactionscholars.pdf

Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard
http://mises.org/books/humanactionscholars.pdf

Jul. 03 2013 12:52 PM
John A

Just dawned on my as he was saying it (the second time) that high frequency trading is nearly identical to the scene in "Forbin" when Colossus+Guardian evolves to uncontrollability. How many in the business can also see this? It's an iconic movie among the quant types.

Jul. 03 2013 12:46 PM
kiven from new york

weaponization of data gathering of individual will be use by the government and corporations as well as other individuals who have the means to do so. the constitution is useless. the value of the fascist future via technology well be Orwellian. thought control, incarcerated by demand. and human going from consumer/cattle to imprisoned /cattle. the child state of existence where the father and mother will be he government and corporations. welcome to china. welcome to united states.

Jul. 03 2013 12:42 PM

" it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

And the alternative is--?

For a decade or more, Nobel Prizes in Economics were given to economists who often pointedly ignored any relation whatsoever between economics and emotions (which makes it easier to foment free-market theories).

I liked what Noel Prize winner in chemistry Dr. Peter Agre said when Steven Colbert asked him the provocative, "Do they give a Nobel Prize for throwing your own feces?"

He was taken aback, thought for a second, then said, "That’s the economics prize, I think."

Jul. 03 2013 12:25 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I do not agree that "the economy will shrink" but rather that the middle class will shrink in net real assets. That has already happened, but as people have to live in small apartments again, they turn to "virtual reality" for entertainment, in the form of movies, video games, and the rest. Our economy is still growing slowly, but fewer can afford large homes and large cars anymore. If people stay home more, they watch more movies, making Netflix richer, and play more videogames, rather than going out as much as they previously had. But economy is still growing overall.

Jul. 03 2013 12:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I've been a "virtual reality" enthusaist and follower of Jaron for 30 years now, but I think his idealism and pessimism is somewhat misplaced. In real reality, those who in the past owned land were the Land Lords, and the rest their serfs, while today those who can possess the most powerful computers are the Data Lords and the rest of us their microserfs. They mine us for data they can use to influence and sell us, and bind us to them with debt. Virtual reality does not change actual reality. It's just another "means of production." But I agree that people should be paid for their ideas, while fully understanding that it ain't gonna happen any time soon. People's ideas are stolen all the time, just as land was taken and peasants turned into serfs in the Middle Ages.

Jul. 03 2013 12:15 PM
Susan

“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” — Murray Rothbard

Here's why our economy tanked back in 2008, and why it really is not getting better:

http://ebookbrowse.com/thomas-woods-meltdown-pdf-d219194957

Jul. 03 2013 06:20 AM

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