Jaron Lanier: The rise of post-human machine intelligence?

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Learning Technologies 2012, Jaron Lanier sounds both an alarm and a rallying cry. The author of the widely acclaimed ‘You are not a Gadget’ will discuss the insidious effects of technology, information and networks and will explore the impact of today’s digital technologies and how they are not all they appear to be. Wealth and power now accrue to those who own the computers that can collect the most information over networks, whether they are running hedge funds, search engines, social networks, or spy agencies. This new order doesn’t create middle class jobs, so the whole world is devolving into a plutocracy, courtesy of digital networks. If the phenomenon is to be understood as a rise of machine intelligence, then we are entering into the fabled obsolescence of human labour foreseen by a century of science fiction and Marxist writers. Or, maybe what’s happened is that we’ve tricked ourselves into not noticing that there is actually a new kind of precious human labour that makes the new wealth possible. If people were paid for their role in feeding data into the networks, then a middle class could exist even in a future in which machines get better and better.


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