You are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010 - Computers - 209 pages


A 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. 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. 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.

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User Review  - nnschiller - LibraryThing

I tend to align myself with many of those that Lanier directly criticizes, but I found a lot that is valuable in this book. I was a little disappointed that Lanier's arguments hadn't taken into ... Read full review

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User Review  - maribou - LibraryThing

I liked it too much to rate it any lower than 3 stars, but it also pissed me off a lot more than any other book I haven't physically thrown across a room.(I have only ever thrown a very few books across a room.) Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Jaron Lanier is known as the father of virtual reality technology and has worked on the interface between computer science and medicine, physics, and neuroscience. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Visit the author's website at

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