The “brilliant” and “daringly original” (The New York Times) critique of digital networks from the “David Foster Wallace of tech” (London Evening Standard)—asserting that to fix our economy, we must fix our information economy.Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. A NATIONAL BESTSELLERA programmer, musician, and father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier was a pioneer in digital media, and among the first to predict the revolutionary changes it would bring to our commerce and culture. With the world being inundated with facts and statistics about everything from global warming and climate change to GM food to energy and resource crises to poverty and alienation it is easy to be swamped and overcome by the seeming uncertainty and apparent impossibility of it all.
One way or another, global warming will force us to put a price on the deposition of carbon in the atmosphere. More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star.
He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?
Now, with the Web influencing virtually every aspect of our lives, he offers this provocative critique of how digital design is shaping society, for better and for worse. Informed by Lanier’s experience and expertise as a computer scientist, You Are Not a Gadget discusses the technical and cultural problems that have unwittingly risen from programming choices—such as the nature of user identity—that were “locked-in” at the birth of digital media and considers what a future based on current design philosophies will bring. This work offers a proposition for a new market institution that will equitably distribute the pain and benefits of a price on carbon.
Friedman, New York Times) look at how digital technology is transforming our work and our lives. Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. With the proliferation of social networks, cloud-based data storage systems, and Web 2.0 designs that elevate the “wisdom” of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and wisdom of individuals, his message has never been more urgent.
It proposes an institution known as the "Sky Trust", the fundamental premise of which is that the price paid for carbon emission ought to be paid to the owners of the atmosphere - all of us, who own it collectively as a commons. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favor, using jazz to answer physics’ most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe.Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics?a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim?The Jazz of Physics revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. Rather, the author takes an holistic approach, reorganizing and breaking down the content for easier understanding where necessary, and cutting out the repetition.
Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy!
As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”?from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer?Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. We might imagine?and hope?that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era.
The author then examines the extent to which such an institution could be designed to conserve and distribute the benefits of other commons to which we are all heir. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander’s own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College, London’s inner sanctum of string theory. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. The networks that define our world—including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies—now threaten to destroy it.
Digital technologies?with hardware, software, and networks at their core?will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary.
As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the ?music of the spheres,” taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.Whether you are more familiar with Brian Greene or Brian Eno, John Coltrane or John Wheeler, the Five Percent Nation or why the universe is less than five percent visible, there is a new discovery on every page. In The Second Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee?two thinkers at the forefront of their field?reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy.
Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic?a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making ?good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. Covering the entire history of the universe from its birth to its fate, its structure on the smallest and largest scales, The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.
In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change.
He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources.
At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries?education and health care?that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology.
Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption?and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity.
These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age alters how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress. Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes?Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive?even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects?not to mention those of their children?as well as for society as a whole.

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