When most people hear the term “Web 2.0,” they generally know what it means. People understand that the web 2.0 movement was about a shift in how people interact with the web and with data. The internet became more interactive and personal, more social, less cold and strictly data-driven once web 2.0 ideas came into being.
To most people this is a good thing. But to Jaron Lanier, one of web 2.0’s champions and developers, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Jaron Lanier was instrumental in the late 1980s and 1990s in pushing virtual reality and a more tech-centric life. He was one of the many pioneers that set the stage for where the modern internet is today.
But Jaron Lanier has been rather introspective lately and sees a lot of problems with the web becoming increasingly social and mob-like. He’s not as enthusiastic about where the internet is taking our society and our culture. He worries that we as a culture are becoming too influenced and negative due to our mob-like tendencies online.
Lanier is definitely an in-depth thinker, and he has been taking the last few years to be critical and investigative of the movement he helped to create. He is very concerned about creating a system through social media and data that sells exactly what we want to be sold, in a sense numbing and simplifying our world.
A recent in-depth article, delving into Lanier’s thoughts, was posted on the Smithsonian Magazine website, and is a treat to read for anyone interested in the development of the web and technology. One striking statement the author makes about Lanier will no doubt make you want to read more. He writes: “Lanier is suggesting we are outsourcing ourselves into insignificant advertising-fodder. … He may be the first Silicon populist.”
Be sure to check out the article linked above!