The basic idea of this contract,” [Jaron Lanier] writes, “is that authors, journalists, musicians and artists are encouraged to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. Reciprocity takes the form of self-promotion. Culture is to become precisely nothing but advertising.
Google Subway Wrap in NYC via FlickrAlex Pastrenack at the Huffington Post
on China, Google, and content:
“There’s an interesting dynamic between Google and China,” Jaron Lanier, the Internet philosopher and author of the new book You Are Not a Gadget, said last night after a talk at the 92nd Street Y. “The Chinese Communist Party would like to be the central place where everybody has to move through to move communication. The reason the Communist Party wants to do that is both for power purposes but also to control what is said. They want to control reality traditionally. Obviously this is a bad program and we’d like them not to succeed in that.Read the full article here.
“But on the other hand… Google also wants to be the single node through which everybody has to connect. Their purpose is to sell advertising. But in a sense the style of power they want does have some overlap with what the Chinese want. And so they’re in a unique position of wanting to compete in a somewhat similar way.”
Lanier, whose “new book issues a loud groan about Web 2.0, calls out Google and Facebook as “lords of the clouds,” landlords whose apparent generosity depends on the spread of free user-made content in the service of advertising, to the point where ads and content become one and the same, and trading quality of content for quantity of clicks.
“The basic idea of this contract,” he writes, “is that authors, journalists, musicians and artists are encouraged to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. Reciprocity takes the form of self-promotion. Culture is to become precisely nothing but advertising.”
He says the trend of sharing free content pushed by companies like Google can lead us into a kind of “digital Maoism.”
“In the long term, the Google approach just doesn’t work,” he said. “If you’re trying to run a whole civilization for the sake of advertising, and you’re pulling the means of income away from the intellectuals of that civilization, you don’t have something that’s sustainable.”
The Madness of Crowds and an Internet Delusion
Q&A with Jaron Lanier