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
Nov 24, 2014
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  (AP)

We’ll look at privacy, security, and the battle heating up between intelligence agencies and tech companies that are moving to encrypt your communication.

Nov 24, 2014
Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments