Noah Kulwin interviews VR pioneer Jaron Lanier. Jaron always seemed just a bit over the top to me, but a lot of what he says in this interview reasonates.
Way back in the ’80s, we wanted everything to be free because we were hippie socialists. But we also loved entrepreneurs because we loved Steve Jobs. So you wanna be both a socialist and a libertarian at the same time, and it’s absurd. But that’s the kind of absurdity that Silicon Valley culture has to grapple with. And there’s only one way to merge the two things, which is what we call the advertising model, where everything’s free but you pay for it by selling ads.
Not all of Silicon Valley or the tech world as a whole is wrapped up in ads, of course. But being a pedant doesn’t change the equation. Enough of the backbone of how we connect is warped by that economy to, in turn, warp our reality. That’s what we need to deal with now.