Who Owns The Future? (2013)
Who Owns the Future? (2013)
3.72 of 5 Votes: 2
1451654967 (ISBN13: 9781451654967)
Simon & Schuster
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This book is mostly a waste of time. Here, I'll save you the time of reading it by summarizing everything that the author has to communicate:Digital networks have contributed to the hollowing out of the ability to earn a living in some occupations, such as creation of music content, and have concentrated wealth into a very few, very wealthy hands that control 'siren servers'. What we ought to do to combat this is to come up with a magical way to change the internet such that everybody gets paid millions of little micropayments based on their contributions to content - such as this review, or a photo of you online, or your sharing of your preferences with a social networking site. That's it. A moderately-interesting hypothesis, with no substance to make a credible argument around it. Extremely vague, with very few concrete illustrations of what he is talking about. Almost no substantiation of his thesis, no data (ironically) to back up claims. The author is highly-regarded among people that know lots about technology, so maybe he is a great seer of technology trends, and apparently a revolutionary musician with rare and unusual instruments. Apparently he has been credited with coining the term 'virtual reality', and there is a panoply of newly-created vocabulary terms here.But I couldn't help thinking of him as a self-professed guru who came up with an idea but didn't really do any research to back up his opinions or proposals, and then padded out what should be a ten-page pamphlet into 400 pages. The best book I've read so far about society-level changes that are happening due to internet technology. That would be higher praise if I had read more books, but so far I've only covered The New Digital Age and Alone Together, both of which were bad. The conclusion about the pernicious nature of siren servers (Facebook, Google, Napster, Hedge Funds, Wall Mart etc.) controlling our information and shrinking the economy is not entirely convincing. Lanier's siren servers seem more different than alike, but even the author admits, when all you have is a hammer... His argument that the music industry is a canary for many creative industries doesn't make sense to me, considering that the closest real world implementation of his ideal economy is probably Spotify. I wonder what Lanier thinks of the company?Still, I think the dangers of technology-driven unequal distribution of wealth are compelling. There are many entertaining ideas peppered throughout, and I appreciated the author's non-singularity vision of the future.
Some interesting ideas, but so far from the present reality that I don't know how useful they are.
Not the best written book in terms of prose, but the ideas are electric.
I got to chapter 3 ...
Not worth it.
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