This weekend "You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto" by Jaron Lanier was on the reading list. The book is a very interesting read, challenging most peoples' blind adoption and glorification of web 2.0 and other technologies.
Lanier makes an argument that we (the humans) are adjusting our behaviours and expectations in order to fulfil our ideals of the computers and technologies that we create. He challenges the effectiveness of the ubiquitous social network platform - FACEBOOK - worrying that it is creating a top down system in which one crafts their online, and possibly offline, identity.
Lanier is quick to remind his readers that he is not a luddite - using his silicon valley credentials as proof. He does make it clear that his maifesto is not anti-technology, instead it is meant to question the current direction designers and computer programers are taking towards our techno future.
This book is a must read for any designer, especially anyone working with technology.
About the Book
In You are not a Gadget digital guru and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier reveals how recent developments in our culture are deadening personal interaction, stifling genuine inventiveness and even changing us as people. Showing us the way to a future where individuals mean more than machines, this is a searing manifesto against mass mediocrity, a creative call to arms - and an impassioned defence of the human.
A pioneer in the development of virtual reality and a Silicon Valley veteran, Mr. Lanier is a digital-world insider concerned with the effect that online collectivism and the current enshrinement of "the wisdom of the crowd" is having on artists, intellectual property rights and the larger social and cultural landscape. In taking on such issues, he's written an illuminating book that is as provocative as it is impassioned. - Michiko Kakutani's Top 10 Books Of The Year 2010 New York Times