I just published a short essay reviewing the amazing book Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier. It is published as part of a new business collection over at Medium.com, where I'll be writing with a number of other business and finance writers. First two paragraphs below. I really encourage everyone to buy and read this book. It's changed my entire perspective on the Internet and how it is affecting our economic lives:
Imagine that someone told you that three of the biggest stories of the past few years — the financial crisis, exploding economic inequality, and the National Security Agency spy scandal — weren’t actually different stories at all. Different in detail, yes, but essentially identical in their deeper cause. The cause, they go on to say, wasn’t greed or fear or the age of terrorism or anything else linked to human fallibility, but technology — specifically, computation and its networked manifestation, the Internet. Sound crazy?
Well, it doesn’t if you hear out Jaron Lanier’s full argument. Lanier is a Silicon Valley guru and one of the pioneers of virtual reality technology; he’s helped build today’s technological reality and is anything but a Luddite about technology and its potential for helping people. But he does think the Internet has gone off the rails, that we’re developing it in the wrong way, benefiting technology more than people, and by design driving our economies into the swamp. I’ve come a little late to Lanier’s book of last year — Who Owns the Future? — but I think it’s one of the most important things I’ve read in a decade.
Read the whole thing here.