Lanier with Carr and Shirky connections

While reading the second required portion of Lanier’s novel, I found a slight connection to his novel with Nicholas Carr’s outlook on the Internet. When Jaron mentions the fact that the news no longer publicizes things about us but instead, it boasts about the “new computational object that is greater than us”(45), it becomes clear that his idea is highly controversial. More specifically, people do not want to hear that we are controlled by the Internet. Instead, we would rather be fooled by the fact that there is only ONE technological future and one path for us to go down. Unlike the majority, Lanier believes that there is more than one technological future, therefore we should worry more about “how to best identify and act on whatever freedoms of choice we still have…” (45). In other words, Lanier is dead-set on the idea that we do not control much when it comes to the Internet.
Although this idea seems to be completely uncorrelated to Nicholas Carr’s opinion on the Internet, I found a bit of a connection. While Lanier discusses his opinion on how there are many technological futures (which is an unpopular belief), he is noted and accused to be one who “fears change”. Just like this criticism and accusation, I would say that Nicholas Carr can definitely be known as someone who feared change. In Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows”, he discusses the changes in the Internet over the years and how it has completely overtaken paper-back books. Along with sharing his preference to his readers on how he would rather read a hard copy of a book over an e-book on the Internet, it becomes clear that Carr is not well-equipped with new technology. He is a resistor and does not want to move past the old ways of writing and publishing. Just like Carr, Lanier is being accused of fearing change when it comes to the Internet.

Along with this connection, Lanier makes a clear distinguished point in between this section of his book to alert the reader about what he is trying to present. Thus far, his novel has discussed two major types of failures of the digital world and its ideology. He notes these failures as “spiritual” and “behavioral”. In both cases, these failures have to do with us as humans and he notes that millions of people (the majority) have used the Internet in meaningless ways. Along with that, he mentions the few (minority) people who have used the Internet in more important ways. These people use the Internet to create financial schemes that they were once unable to create. (75)
Just from the first half of his novel, it has become clear that Lanier’s opinion lies solely in what we choose to do with the opportunities that the Internet hands us(similar to what Clay Shirky said about how the Internet provides us with multiple opportunites). The effect that the Internet has on us depends entirely with what we do with it and whether we choose to use it an effective ways or not, it remains extremely powerful and is a pre-determiner that has the ability to write and direct our future.

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About joellerae

My name is Joelle Altomare! I am currently attending Rutgers University, class of 2016, and I am a cell biology and neuroscience major. I have a twin sister and my favorite thing to do in my free time is surf. The purpose of this blog is to motivate people and show them that nothing is impossible. With determination comes greatness and if you work hard towards your goals, you will achieve them.

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