90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Jaron Lanier: The Web’s "Digital Maoism"

100113gadget

Jaron Lanier was there in the morning of the digital age, when everything was thrilling and new. He was a thinker and an artist and a programmer turned on by the Internet revolution.

Now, he’s not so sure. What looked liberating may be enslaving us, he says, to a kind of aggregated, collectivist “hive mind” online.

“Digital Maoism,” he’s called it, making digital peasants out of Googlers and Facebookers. Stealing individuality. Reducing us to mush.

Ouch!

This hour, On Point: a warning on the web.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Jaron Lanier joins us in our studio. A computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author, he’s a pioneer of “virtual reality,” and was a founding contributing editor of Wired magazine. His new book is “You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.” You’ll find related materials on his website, and you can read an excerpt here.

Also in our studio is David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He is a co-author of the 2000 bestseller “The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual.” More recent books include “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” and “Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder.”

Closing segment: Earthquake in Haiti

Later this hour, we turn to the situation in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there yesterday:

Joining us from Miami is Carol Rosenberg, foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald. She’s part of the team that’s been reporting on the earthquake since news of it first broke yesterday afternoon.  You can follow their latest coverage here.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 27, 2015
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. (AP)

A leftist victory in Greece, and anti-austerity pushback across Europe. We’ll ask where this goes.

Jan 27, 2015
As any ant knows, building a reliable team can be hard. (Flickr / Guildmn20)

From Silicon Valley to your office, some teams work better – and smarter – than others. We’ll look at the surprising reasons why.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 26, 2015
Frederick Daniel Hardy's "Baby's Birthday" (1867) shows a typical Victorian English family at home.  (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Brush your teeth with soot, stay away from water, wear a steel corset. We’ll talk with the author of “How to be a Victorian.” Strange ways from another age.

 
Jan 26, 2015
Yemeni protesters gather during a demonstration to show their support to Houthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.  (AP)

Yemen in turmoil, a new king in Saudi Arabia. We’ll look at what’s next for the Arabian Peninsula. Plus: the President’s trip to the Indian subcontinent.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment