Jaron Lanier on Internet and middle class: “We have screwed things up” | Salon

Salon Q&A: Tech visionary Jaron Lanier on Thomas Piketty, Jeff Bezos and Amazon, how to save the creative class

His latest book, published in the U.S. last May, covers an enormous amount of ground in what’s often a personal and eccentric style. “Who Owns the Future?” describes in especially stark terms the Internet’s false promise to artists – “trinkets tossed into the crowd spread illusions and false hopes” — and the larger creative class. “The clamor for online attention only turns into money for a token minority of ordinary people, but there is another new, tiny class of people who always benefit,” he writes on the book’s opening page. “Those who keep the new ledgers, the giant computing services that model you, spy on you, and predict your actions, turn your life activities into the greatest fortunes in history.”

The book received mostly positive reviews, though some objected to his proposed solution – that citizens be reimbursed with micro-payments whenever their personal information led to the generation of revenue. Since people’s Facebook preferences help companies sell, for instance, and the work of human translators provide the basis for online translation programs, these people should be compensated: “A new kind of middle class, and a more genuine, growing information economy, could come about if we could break out of the ‘free information’ idea and into a universal micro-payment system.”

We spoke to the Berkeley-based Lanier about “Who Owns the Future?,” the explosion of surveillance, Amazon’s policies, Kickstarter and his role as a critic both inside and outside the beast.


The Trichordist Random Reader News & Links Sun Apr 29

Grab the coffee!

Google stops charging for advertising, moves to t-shirts and merchandise model instead (just like bands should)…

Class war on creatives; Salon reports astounding labor stats of 45.3% drop in “Musical groups and artists” from Aug 2002 – Aug 2011…

Spotify to introduce “Pandora” like internet radio. This allows Spotify access to all music, as no artists or labels can opt out and royalties are set as stat rate. Will be interesting to see if the Major Labels have direct licenses that redirect the artist share to the labels.

This week was Grammy’s On The Hill, support artists rights, call your representative…

In case you were wondering, traditional terrestrial radio airplay is still the number one influence in music purchasing “60 percent of musically active consumers citing it as a top influence.” We love social media but don’t believe the hype…

If you disagree with Sergey Brin it’s only because you aren’t smart enough to understand that he doesn’t want to ask your permission to exploit you or your work so that Google can make more money…

Can’t make this up, Pirate Politician Says Party ‘Rising as Fast as Nazis’…

Hacker collective Anonymous to create pirate streaming music search engine so that music “can be free.”
However, there is some interesting skepticism online.

Larry Lessig explains why Hollywood (ie, “the copyright industry”) needs to accept that there’s no point in protecting copyright. This is the origins of the “break the internet” rhetoric. Uploaded by the Pirate Party to YouTube on Aug 27, 2009…