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Who Owns the Future? [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Jaron Lanier
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Kurzbeschreibung

7. Mai 2013
Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.

Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world—including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies—now threaten to destroy it.

But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 416 Seiten
  • Verlag: Simon & Schuster; Auflage: Export (7. Mai 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1476729867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476729862
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 22,9 x 15,2 x 2,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 7.432 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“Daringly original . . . Lanier’s sharp, accessible style and opinions make Who Owns the Future? terrifically inviting.” (Janet Maslin The New York Times)

“Lanier’s career as a computer scientist is entwined in the central economic story of our time, the rapid advance of computation and networking. . . . [Who Owns the Future?] not only makes a convincing diagnosis of a widespread problem, but also answers a need for moonshot thinking.” (The New Republic)

"Lanier has a mind as boundless as the internet . . . [He is] the David Foster Wallace of tech." (London Evening Standard)

“Lanier has a poet’s sensibility and his book reads like a hallucinogenic reverie, full of entertaining haiku-like observations and digressions.” (Financial Times)

"Everyone complains about the Internet, but no one does anything about it . . . except for Jaron Lanier." (Neal Stephenson bestselling author of Reamde and Cryptonomicon)

"Who Owns the Future? explains what’s wrong with our digital economy, and tells us how to fix it. Listen up!” (George Dyson bestselling author of Turing's Cathedral)

"Who Owns the Future? is a deeply original and sometimes startling read. Lanier does not simply question the dominant narrative of our times, but picks it up by the neck and shakes it. A refreshing and important book that will make you see the world differently." (Tim Wu author of The Master Switch)

“This book is rare. It looks at technology with an insider’s knowledge, wisdom, and deep caring about human beings. It’s badly needed.” (W. Brian Arthur economist and author of The Nature of Technology)

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jaron Lanier is a scientist and musician best known for his work in Virtual Reality research, a term he coined and popularized. Time named him one of the “Time 100” in 2010. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Brief Summary and Review 29. Mai 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
*A full executive summary of this book will be available at newbooksinbrief dot com, on or before Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

The main argument: Not so long ago the Internet was seen as the next great economic engine. The optimism was never higher than at the peak of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, of course; but even after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, many believed that this was but the growing pains of an emerging industry, and that in the long run the Internet would yet provide the foundation for a new and improved information economy.

Since that time, it is certainly the case that the Internet has spawned a few major successes (such as Google, Amazon, eBay and now Facebook), as well as a host of hopefuls (such as Twitter, Kickstarter, Pinterest and Instagram). However, it cannot be said that the economy has enjoyed a great boost since the Internet exploded. On the contrary, the economy has, at best, stagnated—and it currently shows no signs of escaping its slump. So what went wrong?

According to Silicon Valley luminary Jarion Lanier, the problem is not so much with the Internet per se, but with how it has been set up, and how the major Internet companies themselves are organized. To begin with, major Internet companies tend to form monopolies, or near-monopolies, and on a global scale (mainly because Internet networks are able to reach a global audience and undercut local players, but also because these networks are more valuable to their users as they grow larger [for instance, it is most convenient to just join Facebook to connect with friends because this is the platform that most people, for whatever reason, have come to use—it just simplifies things]).
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3.0 von 5 Sternen good book 8. Juli 2013
Von Tanja
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
'd like to mention first that since I grew up with computers I like to read real books, which in this case is in good condition (no stinking paper, font big enough, good binding). The content is also not bad, although I don't see any real solution to change the digital development like it is. The future seems to be predetermined by the monopolies who control big data of little you and me. And we still try to get a piece of pie in the form of coupons and nano-payments, which make us to modern slaves and that‘s how I feel.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Kann ich nur bestens empfehlen! 20. Juli 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Interessanter und durchaus realistischer Ausblick auf die nächsten Jahre in punkto Arbeitswelten. Für jeden, der am Puls der Zeit bleiben will auf jeden Fall zu empfehlen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The internet destroys more jobs than it creates. 1. April 2013
Von Orin Thomas - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
If you've read "Race against the machine" and "The lights in the tunnel" you'll be familiar with part of Lanier's thesis, though Lanier also goes further and ties in the demonetization of information in his predictions about the future. There are some quotable lines in the book, one of which stayed with me even though I hadn't thought of it precisely in this way - something like "the internet destroys more jobs that it creates". In a nutshell, by introducing efficiencies, by disrupting existing markets, the internet makes things more efficient so that a greatly reduced number of people can perform the same tasks. What Lanier also highlights is that the "new jobs" that were meant to replace the ones lost to automation aren't appearing. In part because there has also been as strong push to make "information free", so jobs creating that information that "wants to be free" won't put the bread on the table. Lanier suggests that the Internet is shrinking the economy because by making information free, it's taken the value/wealth that once existed in creating that information out of the economy. That the number of jobs that the internet creates is a fraction of the number that it has automated away.

Lanier proposes some solutions to this problem which would involve a seismic shift in the way that current users of the internet consider the cost of information. He suggests that the Internet could create jobs if only the creation and distribution of information could be monetized. He provides some ideas in this direction. He also makes some predictions about what happens if something doesn't change.

I felt that Lanier described the problem well without going into an approach where he over did it. While I agree with the problem and think his predictions make sense, I also suspect that the people who have pushed hard to demonetizes information are about as likely to change their policies as the oil industry is in light of "peak oil". That is that the problem is understood in an academic sense, but they are still making truckloads of cash, so why change the system?

At the moment the received wisdom is that the internet creates jobs and that anyone who disagrees is a luddite. I think books like Lanier's, Race Against the Machine, and Lights in the Tunnel are providing a different interpretation of the future, but one that won't be seen as prescient for a decade or so.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Too Many Fallacies Here. 21. Mai 2013
Von Kevin Currie-Knight - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I REALLY wanted to like Lanier's new book, as I liked - and positively reviewed - his previous work, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Vintage). I like and admire several points Lanier made there, but alas, there are simply too many fallacies in this book for Lanier's conclusion to hold. Also, stylistically, the book is poorly laid out, very repetitive, and prone to meandering.

First, the positive: as with Lanier's last book, I think he is on the right track in criticizing the insane mantra that "informatoin wants to be free." (First, information isn't sentient enough to want anything, and second, those who produce information often want to be paid because the production isn't costless.) Second, several of Lanier's points about siren servers' ability to lock customers into their particular ecosystem to access content (think Apple's ios, or amazon's cloud for ebooks and mp3 music) are very well taken and need to be taken seriously. Third, as big an "open source" enthusiast, I can see at least some danger in allowing (or encouraging) individuals to create and make available information "for free" (though I don't think the results will be nearly as dire as Lanier predicts).

Now, for the negative. First, his argument is premised on the idea that for economies to be healthy, the existence of a middle class is required. I am not an economist, but I know enough economists to know that this is a contentious point and very probably a tautology (the truth seems to be that an economy where products can be geared toward a middle class needs a healthy middle class.) Not that there aren't good reasons to want to see a healthy middle class, but "economies need them" is either not a good reason, or a good reason that requires more argument than Lanier gives.

Second, Lanier is certainly no luddite, but his argument is identical to the luddite arguments of the past...the ones which have all proven wrong - that the new technology will simply destroy more jobs than it creates. Why have these arguments proved wrong? Because they are based on the assumption that the current marketplace (and the demand consumers express in it) is what the future economy will just look like, and that our lack of ability to guess at what people may demand in the future (once technology renders some current occupations and products obsolete) means that those possibilities probably don't exist. Take his brief discussion of how technology will destroy, or seriously dent, higher education. He talks about how new technologies that can scale instruction in a way that will render the existing model of higher education largely irrelevant spells doom for the higher education industry.That may be, but if this new education costs less than current education, we must imagine that the money that people WOULD HAVE spent on higher education will go somewhere - either saved (and invested) or spent. Where? We can only imagine. Lanier really does write as if he believes that people will just stop demanding things when present demands become easier to satisfy.

Second, he writes that people should be paid when they contribute information to, say, Google, Facebook, etc, because they are providing these companies with valuable information (remember, facebook's users ARE NOT the customers; the businesses that use user's information are.) But, is the fact that they don't receive money payments mean they are not paid? What about Google providing me a free word processor, helpful calendar program, a free website creation service, and other things? Yes, Lanier may have a point that users may not realize exactly what information they are giving up, but I do have to imagine that a great many of them would still see the services "gives" them as a payment, even if they were made aware of exactly how much Google benefits from their information sharing. (Even in cases like Youtube, there must be a reason people are willing to create videos and share them freely; maybe the payment is just the knowledge that others are benefiting.) Simply put: just because money doesn't change hands doesn't mean payment doesn't exist.

There are some other flaws in the book, such as Lanier's bizarre talk of how siren servers undermine the idea of free will by creating better and better behavior-prediction software, as if the fact that I can predict what choice you will make means you actually didn't make a choice. (Even if a company can predict what advertisement or price point it would take to 'nudge' you to buy x, that doesn't mean that you had no choice in buying x.)

Stylistically, the book is very rambling and somewhat disorganized. It may well be that Lanier's case is much stronger than I am giving credit for and he just wasn't able to properly express it in this book. He is a very smart man indeed, but reading this book was much like reading someone who had so many intricate thoughts (and saw synthesis between just about every field on the planet) that he had difficulty limiting himself to one cogent argument. I skipped or skimmed a good many pages in the book largely because there were tangents and repetitions throughout.

As I said, I wanted very much to like this book, and pre-ordered it months ago in anticipation. Unfortunately, there are many bad assumptions and arguments here, and the lack of structure just pushed it over the edge into the "disappointing" category.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen How to avoid the lure of the siren servers 28. Mai 2013
Von haig shahinian - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read many books on society's current economic predicament resulting from networked information technologies clashing with outmoded political economic systems, but Jaron Lanier tries tackling the problem from a prescriptive engineering approach which I find refreshing and fruitful. To clarify, by taking an engineering approach I don't mean simple technocratic reductionist thinking which presupposes technical fixes to be silver bullets that trump political or social advances, I mean a holistic and humanistic engineering of technosocial systems that incorporates social and political dynamics into the foundation of our networked technologies. Larry Lessig coined the phrase 'code is law', and Lanier builds on this idea in his new book to show us that 'code is economics'.

Ironically, one of Lanier's major gripes is centered precisely on the free/open source/creative commons ideology that Lessig helped popularize and which has become a dominant mindset of information technology designers, entrepreneurs, and activists. While filled with good intentions, this movement, according to Lanier, is the seed of much of the problems we are facing and can only lead to a dystopian future. This movement wants information to be free because information is abundant in a digital network where the cost of copying bits is close to zero. However, when information is free, the only way to make sustainable profits within the information economy is to become spying platforms and gatekeepers of information that act as intermediaries between consumers and producers/advertisers, exploiting both in the process. For those lucky enough to be close to these gatekeepers, which Lanier calls siren servers, huge benefits can be had, but for most people any significant economic benefits from producing information becomes either a crap shoot within digital markets dominated by winner-take-all power law distributions or promotional material for unsustainable offline activities such as singing for your money. As our society increasingly transforms its activities into information processing (software is eating the world as Marc Andreesen put it), the logical conclusion of a free information economy dominated by siren servers is a drastic shrinking of the overall economy, huge social inequalities, and massive civil unrest.

Lanier's proposed solution to this nightmare is to revisit an old idea by Ted Nelson that predates the internet and personal computer revolutions by decades. Nelson was one of the first people to sketch out a vision for hypertext and a networked information system, but the main differences between his ideas and what eventually became the web was the bidirectional nature of the links that form the networks instead of the one-way links of the current www, and the persistence of single identities of information objects with cached local images instead of the copying and duplication of disparate data in use today. With two-way links to atomic chunks of information, metadata that identifies the ownership and use rights of each atom, and a micropayment system that compensates actors at all levels of the information economy, the remixing/mashup dreams of the creative commons can be had while still enabling a true information economy that grows instead of shrinks, and with a large portion of that growth happening in the middle. People will become active and compensated actors within all information processes they engage in instead of being exploited passive users of spying gatekeeper siren servers. Not only those who engage in commercial transactions will profit like they do now with e-commerce, but micro-royalties will propagate to each individual whenever their information property is used in those transactions, enabling not only income generation but wealth generation for the masses. If you're going to have a capitalist society, might as well digitize capital completely, not just the markets. Lanier's outline of such a system is just a rough draft vision document, the devil surely is in the details, and bootstrapping such a system within the current regime is a nontrivial task to put it mildly, but as a plausible vision for how to move forward I find it an optimistic and worthy direction to pursue.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Serendipity 6. September 2013
Von Frank Blank - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Let's say three and a half stars. Who ever invented the cut down, five star ranking system is a whole lot of stars short of a constellation.
-----

Since the people who run big internet companies are dedicated and predictable a-holes, I know something would come along that would fit Lanier's book like a glove - with a great big foam finger pointing at the company. And dang if it didn't come along:

The Washington Post ran an article about privacy groups latest complaints about FaceBook's recent proposed change of the user agreement. One of the new wrinkles is this:

"You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it."

(From: facebook.com/legal/proposedsrr)

Boiled down, this means "Your images and opinions = our money. Not your money. NEVER your money."

So Lanier's critique of the existing system of big servers, or "siren servers" as he calls them, and the companies that control those servers is right on point. They are pulling off a massive, "victimless" scam on their users. Lanier is right, and every additional voice in the chorus of protest is beneficial.

But then we have the problem of the second half of the book - the solution. As other reviewers note, Lanier proposes micro-payments to users each time a company uses their data commercially. This is indeed technically possible but, once lots of people are involved, it seems inevitable that it would blow up into twenty million battles per year over who owes what to whom.

Add to this that the internet companies would resist till the last lobbyist lay dead in the street. And the last Superpac was disbanded, as the funnel for bribes it is.

Add to this the sorry fact that half the people in congress don't know how anything works, as, for example, the Princeling of the Unknowing, Rand Paul, who said data collection and use was copacetic because users signed a contract agreeing to it.

As if. As if Paul had ever read a EULA or a User Agreement. As if Paul knew whether or not users ever read a EULA or User Agreement. As if Paul had the intelligence to know that if users did read those things, they'd have no time for their spouses, kids, or jobs, let alone time for banging away at their keyboards to provide monetizeable data. Paul's was merely the default response of the right to agree with _anything_ entrenched, concentrated money desires.

So Lanier made a good start, or a good addition to the start of a critique of this aspect of the ongoing privatization of profit / increased socialization of risk, labor, information, and everything else. IMHO, more work is needed to figure out a solution

Recommend.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Brief Summary and Review 29. Mai 2013
Von A. D. Thibeault - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
*A full summary of this book is available here: An Executive Summary of Jaron Lanier's 'Who Owns the Future?'

The main argument: Not so long ago the Internet was seen as the next great economic engine. The optimism was never higher than at the peak of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, of course; but even after the dot-com bust in the early 2000s, many believed that this was but the growing pains of an emerging industry, and that in the long run the Internet would yet provide the foundation for a new and improved information economy.

Since that time, it is certainly the case that the Internet has spawned a few major successes (such as Google, Amazon, eBay and now Facebook), as well as a host of hopefuls (such as Twitter, Kickstarter, Pinterest and Instagram). However, it cannot be said that the economy has enjoyed a great boost since the Internet exploded. On the contrary, the economy has, at best, stagnated--and it currently shows no signs of escaping its slump. So what went wrong?

According to Silicon Valley luminary Jarion Lanier, the problem is not so much with the Internet per se, but with how it has been set up, and how the major Internet companies themselves are organized. To begin with, major Internet companies tend to form monopolies, or near-monopolies, and on a global scale (mainly because Internet networks are able to reach a global audience and undercut local players, but also because these networks are more valuable to their users as they grow larger [for instance, it is most convenient to just join Facebook to connect with friends because this is the platform that most people, for whatever reason, have come to use--it just simplifies things]). The formation of monopolies and near monopolies destroys competition, of course, which compromises economic growth.

Even more important than this, though, is that Internet megaliths employ relatively few people, and have very little overhead (thus they simply don't contribute much back to the economy). You see, the business plan of most successful Internet companies is to offer a particular service for free (such as Internet search efficiency with Google, or social connecting with Facebook, or business connecting with LinkedIn, or an auction platform with eBay, or music and video files on a sharing site etc). The framework of the platform is provided by the company, but the content of the service is provided by the users and/or the general public (indexable websites on Google, Facebook pages on Facebook, LinkedIn profiles on LinkedIn, auction items on eBay, and music and video files on sharing sites etc.). The site attracts users with the prospect of a free and useful service, and the site itself makes revenue through selling advertising space. Oftentimes, the company collects information from its users through its activities on the platform, and uses this information to help target them with ads (among other things) and/or sells this information to third parties so these third parties can use it themselves. (Lanier calls companies that operate in this way Siren Servers--the term applies to any company or organization that uses data streams to garner wealth and power.)

As we can see, then, a big part of the value of these Internet companies comes from their users' content and information--as well as the content of third parties whose material is being shared no end. Now, if these users and content providers were being paid fairly for their contributions (according to how much value they bring to the Internet companies, and other Siren Servers, who use it), we could surely expect a major economic boost as a result. Instead, the users and content providers are paid nothing for their contributions (or at most a fraction of what their contributions represent). The end result of this is that wealth is concentrated at the top--in the hands of the major Internet companies and other Siren Servers--and the economy as a whole suffers (since few jobs are created to allow the wealth to trickle down).

And that's just the beginning. The fact is that more and more things are being digitized as we move forward (for instance, driving is being digitized through driverless cars, education lessons are being digitized through being recorded on digital equipment, and even physical objects are being digitized through 3D printing). As things become digitized they become capable of being shared over the Internet for next to nothing. This will inevitably mean the further erosion of productive jobs (and whole industries--such as has already occurred in the music and video industries).

Ultimately, the only wealth-generating endeavor left will be the Internet platforms that share all of this information--or provide other free services. Of course, with nothing productive left to advertise, their revenues will fall off as well, so even they won't be making any money. For Lanier, this is the fate we can expect unless we change the game we are currently playing.

The long short of it is that we must find a way to pay people adequately for the information and content they contribute to the information economy. Lanier argues this means reorganizing the Internet in such a way that informational transactions are monetized--such that the users of information are charged and the providers are paid for each transaction. It is not going to be easy to reorganize the Internet in this way-not only technically, but also because we have all become accustomed to using the Internet the way it is (and we like getting things for `free').

Ultimately, though, we will have no choice, for our current course is leading us to an economy that is dominated by wealth at the top--and eventually no wealth for anyone. At some point, this state of affairs must lead to a revolt and/or a complete breakdown.

Lanier's book is a sprawling affair occasioned with numerous fairly bizarre flights of fancy (I didn't mind this so much since Lanier is fairly interesting, and has a unique perspective), but the core ideas here are very intriguing and worthy of serious consideration. The problem with Lanier's solution at this point is that the economy has not yet slumped enough in order to convince us that Lanier's theory must be true, and that radical solutions are needed (and Lanier's solution is radical). Nevertheless, should events continue to play out as Lanier foresees, his solution may well become attractive at some point. A full summary of the book is available here: An Executive Summary of Jaron Lanier's 'Who Owns the Future?'
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