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Jaron Lanier on How to Not Create a New Cyber Plutocracy

Jaron Lanier is as eccentric as he is smart and accomplished. He is the author of a manifesto titled You Are Not a Gadget as well as one of the better known critics of the technological singularity as a religion for geeks.

The video below was recorded during this year’s Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York City exploring and analyzing technology’s impact on politics and government. This year’s topic was The Internet’s New Political Power and Jaron Lanier shares the ideas of his upcoming new book on How To Not Create A New Cyber Plutocracy.

During his 20 min talk Jaron covers a number of issues and trends such as the simultaneous rise of concentration of power in the hands of big data companies such as Google, Bing and Facebook as well as the ability of the public to petition for change, such as the recent successful SOPA protests; the rise of the internet and the fall of the middle class;  why value always comes from people and so on…


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  • Terrence Lee Reed

    I feel for you Nikola, unfortunately Jaron did not take many of your questions seriously. I don’t think that he was being disingenuous, simply that he feels that he has transcended such questions. Perhaps he is post-singularity?
    The most unfortunate thing is that he did was not really able to contribute much content to the discussion and we did not really learn much about him, unlike most of your other interviews. There are some things I would love to discuss about Jaron’s view though, so I am likewise disappointed that there are not more comments on your Singularity Weblog posts. If there is any way that I can help in this regard please let me know.
    Keep up the good work Nikola, you can’t win them all.

  • Thanks very much Terrence,

    I am happy you feel the same way about the interview. In terms of comments – I also would enjoy more discussion myself but generally the way it works is that about 1 in 1,000 people leave a comment or do something after they hear the interview. So you are actually one of those proactive people who do take time to leave input and discuss the substance of my interviews. And this is the best thing that you can do to help get more comments 😉

  • Terrence Lee Reed

    I just noticed that I posted my comments on your recent post “Jaron Lanier on How to Not Create a New Cyber Plutocracy” instead of your interview with him. Also, as the result, I thought this was a recent interview and was surprised that I didn’t see any other comments. Looking at the comments I see that it was 2 years ago. Is there an easy way to put a date on your posts, or should I simply rely on the dates in the comments?

  • Hi Terrence, I have removed the dates on the posts for a reason. So if you really need to know the time of publishing then you have already discovered a smart way of doing it – i.e. to look at the comments 😉

  • Terrence Lee Reed

    I have been listening to more of Jaron’s talks, I felt compelled to listen to more of him because I find him so repulsive. He is certainly intelligent, but more than a little full of himself, though understandably so, and he has a remarkable resemblance to Jar Jar Binks.
    He is a Web 2.0 Luddite, pure and simple. There is no going back, the Web must be open if it is to thrive and we can and do thrive with it. Likewise, it is a shame that he feels the need to mock the notion of a singularity, which he does not deny so much as he loathes any such future and would stop at nothing to avoid, and understandably so from his perspective. That is the thing though, he really needs to look beyond his own perspective and get off his high horse. That’s my take on Jaron Lanier, any other thoughts out there?

  • Terrence Lee Reed

    Timeless truths? I see, I am fine with that.

  • More like “timeless questions” 😉

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