• Eye Opening
  • Bold
  • Hot Topic


In April 2018, the same week that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported to Congress on the Cambridge Analytica data breach, technologist Jaron Lanier shared this bold response on the TED stage. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” says Lanier. His solution to the problem calls for reversing one specific mistake of the tech industry. getAbstract suggests this talk to tech insiders and anyone concerned about data hijacking.


Digital engineers of the 1980s knew that their technologies could help or harm. In the hands of the power-seeking, the technologies could end humankind. Decades before, in the 1950s, early computer scientist Norbert Wiener posed a “thought experiment” in which a data-gathering global computer shaped human behavior. In Wiener’s vision, people had devices with them at all times, through which the computer would provide instantaneous, behavior-modifying feedback. This dystopia is now a reality, one that Wiener predicted would bring insanity and annihilation.

Humanity can avoid its undoing by reversing...

About the Speaker

Technologist Jaron Lanier is the author of Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Jaron Lanier Fixes the Internet
Why Tech Needs the Humanities
How to Be “Team Human” in the Digital Future
What Obligation Do Social Media Platforms Have to the Greater Good?
How Tech Companies Deceive You into Giving Up Your Data and Privacy

Related Channels