Lanier is the computer scientist who coined the term “virtual reality” after being part of “a merry band of idealists” in the 1980s who were thrilled by the possibilities of Web technology. For Lanier the glory of those days has faded. He’s written You Are Not a Gadget to protest the very Web 2.0 culture (the mutual communication of people across the Internet in forums, social networks, video blogs, etc.) that he helped create. Lanier calls himself a “digital humanist”; he decries what he sees as a decrease in individual expression in the Web 2.0 culture and worries that creativity in the Websphere has actually decreased. Instead of more individual creative expression, he says, we now have blog sites made from templates. Commenting is done anonymously, which detracts from valuing the individual.


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