I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Author & Speaker: Nicholas Carr, Roughtype
Who Owns the Future? is a visionary reckoning with the effects network technologies have had on our economy. Lanier asserts that the rise of digital networks led our economy into recession and decimated the middle class. Now, as technology flattens more and more industries—from media to medicine to manufacturing—we are facing even greater challenges to employment and personal wealth.
But there is an alternative to allowing technology to own our future. In this ambitious and deeply humane book, Lanier charts the path toward a new information economy that will stabilize the middle class and allow it to grow. It is time for ordinary people to be rewarded for what they do and share on the web.
Jaron Lanier, groundbreaking computer scientist and infectious optimist, is concerned that we are not making the most of ourselves. In Who Owns the Future? he tellingly questions the trajectory of economic value in the information age, and argues that there has been a fundamental misstep in how capitalism has gone digital. For Lanier, late capitalism is not so much exhausted as humiliating: in an automated world, information is more important to the economy than manual labour, and yet we are expected to surrender information generated by or about ourselves – a valuable resource – for free.
And yet one of the triumphs of Lanier’s intelligent and subtle book is its inspiring portrait of the kind of people that a democratic information economy would produce. His vision implies that if we are allowed to lead absorbing, properly remunerated lives, we will likewise outgrow our addiction to consumerism and technology. Lanier’s New World is founded on hard, fulfilling work. He concedes that such a radical reorganisation of worth will demand from us new levels of maturity, discipline and collective responsibility – but then who said dignity should be downloadable for free?
A union can make a big difference to people’s perceptions of a job. For UK staff you can find out which unions may be relevant to your job at www.worksmart.org.uk/unionfinder
Join us September 25th – October 9th for another exquisite opportunity to learn about permaculture principles and techniques. With renowned international teacher Starhawk, as well as Palestinian permaculture specialist Murad Al Khuffash, join us in gaining skills and a certification in Permaculture- while experience the culture, food and traditions of beautiful Palestine! More at MardaFarm.com
Murad: Planting the Seeds of Hope
Starhawk at Harvard Divinity School
Watermelon Man is a 1970 American comedy-drama film directed by Melvin Van Peebles. Written by Herman Raucher, it tells the story of an extremely bigoted 1960s white insurance salesman named Jeff Gerber who wakes up one morning to find that he has become black. The premise for the film was inspired by Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and John Howard Griffin’s autobiographical Black Like Me.
Van Peebles’ only studio film, Watermelon Man was a financial success, but Van Peebles did not accept Columbia Pictures’ three-picture contract, instead developing the independent film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. The music for Watermelon Man, written and performed by Van Peebles, was released on a soundtrack album, which spawned the single “Love, that’s America”. In 2011, that single received much mainstream attention when videos set to the song and featuring footage of Occupy Wall Street became viral.