• Innovative
  • Bold
  • Visionary


Computer scientist Jaron Lanier, dubbed “the father of virtual reality,” is intimately familiar – and deeply uncomfortable – with the evolution of big tech. In this charming, visionary video, Lanier outlines exactly what went wrong and sketches a bold solution that even a layperson can grasp. His thesis offers hope as society enters an unknown future where artificial intelligence and big data will wield much power.


Technology companies exploit your personal online data to enrich themselves.

Imagine that friends of yours from college post a picture of their new baby on social media. The image is sweet, so you click the like button. Suddenly, ads for baby slings with the logo of your alma mater emblazoned on them start appearing in your newsfeed. Lucky for you, there is a discount. Wouldn’t that make the perfect gift? So you click and buy a sling. The couple gets a cute present, the seller makes money, the tech company enabling the sale earns a commission and you get “short-changed.”

Modern society has fostered an unsavory culture of “tricking each other.” Consider that baby gift: The social media giant that placed the ad in your newsfeed had to know a lot about you and your friends – that you attended the same university and that your friends just had a baby. But even more sinister, algorithms constantly tweak and tailor ads to target you with the right combination of words and images that will encourage you to click and buy. Your data are the fuel for the “shadow economy” that dominates the world...

About the Speaker

Computer scientist and futurist Jaron Lanier wrote You Are Not a Gadget and Who Owns the Future?

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