MAG #8 La Tercera Plataforma - Page 73

lSuch objections have made Lanier an unusual figure: he is a technology expert who dislikes what technology has become. “I’m disappointed with the way the Internet has gone in the past ten years,” he told me at one point. He added, “I’ve always felt that the human-centered approach to computer science leads to more interesting, more exotic, more wild, and more heroic adventures than the machine-supremacy approach, where information is the highest goal.”

These arguments have proved popular. The book has received admiring reviews in the Times and (twice) in The New York Review of Books. In the months after “Gadget” was published, Lanier lectured at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, travelled to Seoul to speak at a major conference about innovation, and made Time’s list of the hundred “most influential people in the world.” At the South by Southwest Interactive conference, in Austin, in March of 2010, Lanier gave a talk, before which he asked his audience not to blog, text, or tweet while he was speaking. He later wrote that his message to the crowd had been: “If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you’ll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?”

Peter Haynes, a technology strategist and former U.S. business editor of The Economist, who is currently working with Lanier at Microsoft, says that he sees Lanier’s book as an overdue corrective to the national obsession with social networking. “As I read it, I was thinking, Yes, goddammit, this is exactly how I feel!” he said.

Such enthusiastic reactions have been, for Lanier, both gratifying and disorienting. He relishes the attention, but it also unnerves him. When a major newspaper asked him to write an op-ed about the Weiner scandal, he declined. “I’m not sure I should be the person who’s doing that,” Lanier explained. “I’m trying to stay focussed on the long game, not the item of the week. Because the issues I’m talking about will take a long time to address.”

For the past eight years, Lanier has lived in Berkeley, the mecca of techno-utopianism, in a ridgetop house that he shares with his wife, Lena, who is a child psychologist, and their four-year-old daughter, Lilibell, whom he credits with being his muse for “Gadget.” When I visited in June, Lanier had just returned from New York City, where he celebrated his fifty-first birthday in the lounge of the Bowery Hotel. The event, which began modestly, gradually turned into a celebrity bash. The film director Jim Jarmusch stopped by uninvited, as did the actor Forest Whitaker. As Whitaker recalls it, he and Lanier got into a long conversation about individual empowerment and the Internet. “When I saw him, I was really excited,” Whitaker remembers. “He was sitting with a lot of other guys. I came over and said, ‘Virtual reality!’ I have a lot of respect for him. He has an artist’s soul.”

Fuente: The New Yorker