To those hassled by technology, the title of Jaron Lanier’s book – You Are Not a Gadget: A manifesto (www.landmarkonthenet.com) – can be very reassuring. The book, written for people, not computers, begins with the question ‘What is a person?’ Drawing inspiration from Publilius Syrus’ statement that speech is the mirror of the soul, the author defines that a person is not a pat formula, but a quest, a mystery, a leap of faith.
Something started to go wrong with the digital revolution around the turn of the twenty-first century, narrates Lanier. The World Wide Web was flooded by a torrent of petty designs sometimes called web 2.0; and this ideology promotes radical freedom on the surface of the web, but that freedom, ironically, is more for machines than people, he adds.
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