Book Review:

You Are Not a Gadget; A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier

My COM 655 classmates are probably growing weary of my angst and cynicism about certain forms of digital communications. I have taken aim at social media, especially Facebook, as well as the comment sections after online news stories. What is more, on several occasions (as recently as last week) I have shared personal reservations about my own digital literacy and competence, especially as it pertains to prosecuting this online masters program. This behavior probably strikes some readers as the crotchety rantings of a middle-aged man – at least that’s what my twenty-something children have accused me of. Guilty as charged.

Suffice to say, I have concerns about the social implications of digital communications and how they are evolving. I found a compatriot in Jaron Lanier.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 6.00.52 PMLanier is renowned computer programmer and scientist who, among many achievements, is considered the architect of virtual reality technology. Far from being a computer geek, he is also a philosopher, musician, and accomplished writer. Despite his pioneering work in digital design and media, or perhaps because of it, Lanier has become a vocal critic of pervasively negative influences that the Internet is having on our culture. In 2010, he authored a self-described “manifesto” titled You Are Not a Gadget that raised alarm about this phenomenon. I chose this book to review because I wanted to learn how Lanier went from consummate insider in the digital revolution to one of its first and loudest defectors. More specifically, I wanted to see if he shared my concerns.

Here is my book review: ABernstein_BookReview. Comments are welcome.